Speech ● Voting Rights
For Immediate Release: 
July 15, 2013
Contact Info: 

Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered opening greetings on behalf of the Congressional Democratic leadership during the NAACP 104th Annual Conference's First Plenary Session.  Below are his remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“On behalf of Leader Pelosi, Assistant Leader Clyburn, and myself, I am honored to join in celebrating 104 years of NAACP’s leadership in moving our country closer to its founding principles – that all of us are created equal and endowed by our creator with the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

“Throughout the twentieth century, the NAACP helped lead the charge for equality and opportunity – and against racism, segregation, voter suppression, and discrimination in schools, the military, housing, and the workplace.  With your energy, your passion, and your leadership, we passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act to ensure that the doors of equality and full participation would be open for all Americans for all time.

“Now, in the twenty-first century, NAACP is on the front lines once again, defending these victories at a moment when our rights are once again under threat.  The right to vote, in particular, has suffered a blow in the form of last month’s Supreme Court ruling in Shelby v. Holder. And, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, we must come together as a nation to learn from the tragedy of his death and take steps to ensure that every single life is equally cherished and protected under our laws.  

"But you know as well as I do – as well as anyone who knows the history of this organization – the fight for justice and equality continues.  The Supreme Court’s decision will not go down in history as simply a defeat but as a call to action.  

“House Democrats are standing on that front line with you once more, ready to defend the right of every American to cast a vote and have it counted.  America needs your energy and your activism once more to protect this most basic right and the rights of young men and women of color, to move our country closer to realizing the dream Dr. King shared with us fifty years ago.  Together, we must continue to make our legacy the fulfillment of that dream.  Thank you.”