People For the American Way announced that Markus Batchelor, deputy director of our Young Elected Officials Network, will join the Freedom Ride for Voting Rights bus tour as a rider on the tour’s official “Blackest Bus in America” from Jackson, Mississippi, to Washington, D.C., June 19-26. People For the American Way is a partner in the Freedom Ride event led by Black Voters Matter.
Markus will document events on the bus and at the historic stops along the way. Follow his on-the-scene reporting here.
The Freedom Ride for Voting Rights bus tour will revisit stops made famous by the original Freedom Riders of the 1960s, whose courageous organizing led to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This year’s event highlights the urgent need to protect voting rights by passing the For the People Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and legislation to grant statehood to the District of Columbia. It comes as voting rights are under attack in state legislatures across the country.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the Freedom Ride for Voting Rights bus tour,” said Batchelor. “We will be retracing the steps of civil rights champions who fought and died for our right to vote, because today that right is at risk. We’ll be stopping in cities where some of the most legendary events of the early civil rights movement took place, to send a strong message that the sacrifices of those early civil rights fighters can’t be in vain. I’m really grateful to Black Voters Matter for organizing this tour and honored that People For the American Way will be among the official riders.”
“We are facing a voting rights emergency today that is worse than anything we’ve seen since the original freedom rides 60 years ago,” said People for the American Way President Ben Jealous. “It’s imperative that Congress pass the For the People Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and legislation for D.C. statehood. The Freedom Ride for Voting Rights is a great opportunity to educate people about the original struggle for voting rights and to make it clear that we will never accept a new era of Jim Crow in our country.”
Stops on the bus tour will feature rallies with local leaders, appearances by original 1960s Freedom Riders, musical performances, and education on the voting rights landscape in the states.
The itinerary for the tour is as follows:
- Saturday 6/19 Jackson, MS and Birmingham, AL
- Sunday 6/20 Nashville, TN
- Monday 6/21 Atlanta, GA
- Tuesday 6/22 Columbia, SC
- Wednesday 6/23 Raleigh, NC
- Thursday 6/24 Charleston, WV
- Friday 6/25 Richmond, VA
- Saturday 6/26 Washington, D.C.
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org