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Loss of voting rights a top concern at "I had a Dream" rally - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Loss of voting rights a top concern at "I had a Dream" rally

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On Wednesday, it'll be 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous "I had a Dream Speech." Saturday, thousands marched on Washington to commemorate the historic event. The local NAACP and the National Action Network, among others, held a rally that coincided with the one in D.C. and pointed out their belief that Dr. King's dream is still a work in progress.

"In those 50 years, we did not plan enough," one speaker said. "We remain sleeping and as we remain dreaming, many things happen."

Speakers wanted to make it clear at Saturday's rally, freedom and equality must always be fought for and not be taken for granted, especially voting rights.

"There are things that subtract from your right to vote," the crowd heard over loudspeakers. "There are things such as reducing the voting hours to reduce the amount of people who are working people who would have a chance to vote."

The Supreme Court's recent strike down on part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was of top concern for many in the crowd. Justices  decided to allow Southern states, including Louisiana, to make changes to voting laws without justice department approval.

"Right now as we commemorate the 50 years after the March on Washington, I look at the voting rights act and see what is happening to our people now," Earnestine Coleman said. She believes the decision has allowed states to exercise voter suppression in the form of voter ID laws.

"Why would they try to suppress the vote of the poor and of the senior citizens with ID cards. This is wrong," Coleman said. 

She says the dream of freedom and equality must be protected and people must be conscious of changes that may take away their rights.

"We must continue the fight," Coleman said. "We can't become satisfied or become complacent with the gains that we have because we see what can happen! Somebody has taken our eyes off the price!"

Speakers also touched on immigration reform, unfair sentencing for the poor and stand your ground law reform.

 

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