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On hunger strike for voting rights

Published 2:12 pm Saturday, January 15, 2022

To the editor:

I’m Rev. Derrell E. Wade. On Jan. 6, 2022, I join 30 faith leaders across the nation on a hunger strike for voting rights. I joined these dedicated faith leaders because I believe in freedom and democracy. Likewise, I’m praying that my grandchildren and their peers do not have to deal with voting rights issues.

As a United States Marine, I served my country in support of freedom and democracy across the globe. As Americans, we deserve no less here at home. There is no freedom and democracy without voting rights. There is no freedom and democracy without free and fair elections. Free and fair elections are not just hallmarks of democracy but sacred trusts that must be protected.

Unfortunately, state legislatures across our nation have passed laws that are negating these sacred trusts. Passing nationwide voting reforms is one of the single greatest ways we can stave off undemocratic attempts to overturn fair election results on the national, state and local level. The freedom to vote early and voting by mail are safe, convenient and useful means to avoid long voting lines that can last hours. Election workers should be free and able to serve without fear. As a nation, we cannot allow voter suppression and election subversion to determine who gets to vote, whether a person’s vote is counted, and who counts it.

I pray that the Congress will hear our cries and prayers for the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act on Jan. 17, 2022. This upcoming weekend, U.S. senators and congressmen will be honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s accomplishments across the nation as a drum major for justice. I pray they do not dismember his legacy by failing to pass the aforementioned bills.

Rev. Derrell E. Wade

Suffolk