With the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act drawing near, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk recently unveiled an exhibit highlighting the struggles and triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement, with a call for modern-day citizens to honor to its legacy.
Located at the lobby of its Norwalk headquarters, the exhibit included powerful images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leading the march from Selma to Montgomery and shaking hands with President Lyndon Johnson after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law on Aug. 6, 1965.
It also featured a 1960’s era voting booth and ballot box, as well as a copy of the literacy test issued by the state of Louisiana to make voting registration difficult – if not impossible – for African Americans.
The exhibit is part of a campaign encouraging today’s citizens to reflect on the importance of voting. The County Registrar is encouraging citizens to tweet a selfie showcasing why they vote, using the hashtag #LAvotes.
“We wanted to recognize the past which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, but also to build an exhibit that recognizes there are still issues with voting rights today,” Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said. “We have low turnout in our elections right now, and we want to turn that around. This is a reminder of how people fought and bled and sacrificed in order to have the right to vote.”
Citizens can honor the past by participating in democracy, noted Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who journeyed to Selma, Alabama in March to participate in the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement that culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
“The right to vote must never be taken lightly,” he said. “We have a duty to honor those who gave so much in order for us to have a voice. We cannot squander what they fought and died for.”