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  • The power of your vote in South Carolina

    South Carolinians are known for our strong opinions -- on sports, weather, politics, even BBQ. As a native of the Palmetto State, my friends, family, and neighbors share their opinions with me just about every day. And that has been my favorite part about traveling around the state as I run for the United States Senate -- hearing directly from the people.

    Unfortunately, South Carolina Republicans have repeatedly tried to make it more difficult to hear the opinions of us citizens. They are attempting to silence our voices by playing politics with our most fundamental right -- the right to vote.

    In few states has there been a harder fight for the right to vote than in South Carolina. The Department of Justice has intervened in over a hundred election laws through the Voting Rights Act over the years, including a voter ID bill. Thats why, when the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act, many attorneys thought the court got it wrong.   

    But after my initial disappointment in the Supreme Court decision, I quickly remembered the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement and what comes naturally to all South Carolinians -- to organize our neighbors, to mobilize our communities, and to make our voices heard. I decided that I was going to share my opinion with anyone and everyone who would listen.  And I want you to join me.

    Contact your state Democratic Party today and find out what you can do to help register and educate voters in time for this year's election. It is too important to wait.

    Rick Wade is a small business owner and former Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to the U.S. Department of Commerce. He served as the Director of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services from 1999 to 2002, and is currently running to represent South Carolina in the United States Senate.

  • Celebrating Rosa Parks

    In honor of Black History Month and Rosa Parks' birthday, we celebrate the many times she stood for fairness and equality -- and changed our nation along the way.

  • Protect access to the ballot box

    Share this graphic on Facebook or Twitter if you're ready to fight alongside President Obama to protect and expand access to the ballot box for every American.
  • Reflecting on Black History Month

    This is the month we honor the many contributions African Americans have made to our nation. Through centuries, African Americans have fought courageously for their rights and the rights of others, charting a path toward equality and freedom that has brought our nation closer to the promise of a more perfect union.

    But this is also a month to reflect on what progress can be made if we work together. Every child deserves a quality education, no matter where they live. Every person must have access to affordable health care and housing. And to honor the promises enshrined in our Constitution, we must remove any shadow of discrimination that prevents any person, regardless of race, from getting a job or casting a ballot.

    These are the promises Democrats have fought for and we will continue to work toward with purpose, knowing they are true to America’s fundamental values.

  • Our Values, Our Voice, Our Vote

    I’m Virgie Rollins, the Chair of the DNC’s Black Caucus. As we kick off and celebrate Black History Month, we Democrats have so much to be proud of, and so much work left to do. That’s why throughout the month of February, we will be featuring various elected officials and leaders in our party from across the country, telling all of you about “Our Values, Our Voice, and Our Vote.”

    Our Values

    The Democratic Party believes that every American, regardless of where you were born or what you look like, deserves access to a quality education, affordable health care, to earn a living wage, to get a little help from your neighbors when you need it.

    Democrats are committed to making sure all children regardless of income have the opportunity to get a first-rate education. That’s why President Obama and Democrats support expanding programs like Head Start, since studies show early childhood education is critical to future success. And that’s also why President Obama and Democrats have promoted initiatives like Race to the Top to reward schools for innovation and partnered with schools that need assistance to improve.

    Many African Americans are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, and unemployment in communities of color is disproportionately higher than the national average. President Obama has exhibited true leadership by calling on governors and businesses across the country to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, which economists say will lift millions of Americans out of poverty – with African Americans standing to benefit.

    Under the Affordable Care Act, 9 million Americans have already enrolled to receive health insurance coverage through private insurers via the health care exchanges, through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or through the expansion of Medicaid. But millions more stand to benefit if Republican governors holding out would accept the federal dollars to help those in their states who need it most. 7.3 million African Americans already have access to benefits through the no cost-sharing feature of ACA, and free preventative screenings and procedures such as mammograms and colonoscopies.

    And while Republicans in Congress allowed federal unemployment benefits to expire, President Obama is taking action to help the long-term unemployed through partnerships with more than 300 companies and special job training.

    It is clear that Democrats truly value economic opportunity for all.

    Our Voice

    Democrats have shown the true diversity of our party and made phenomenal strides over the past several years, namely with the election of President Barack Obama. From Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the first black chief executive of that Commonwealth, or Senator Cory Booker, the first African American New Jerseyans have sent to represent them in the U.S. Senate, in all 50 states, there are examples of progress and pride for us all. You will hear from many of them this month.

    Our Vote

    Although the Voting Rights Act was weakened by last year’s Supreme Court decision, we remain steadfast in our resolve to protect and expand access to the ballot box for every American. Unfortunately, GOP legislatures and governors in states like Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina have engaged in a cynical campaign to make voting harder, which just isn’t right. New voting restrictions and identification requirements have imposed unnecessary burdens on low-income, African American, and Latino voters, but Democrats are fighting back.

    So join us as we reflect on the many accomplishments and diversity of our party this month, and as we look to the important elections ahead of us this fall to keep moving the country forward. Each day in February, we will provide new graphics, videos, or blogs for you to share with social networks and your family and friends. We hope that you do – we’ve got work to do!

    Virgie Rollins is a small business owner and the chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Black Caucus. She is a native of Michigan and lives in Detroit.

  • Celebrating 50 Years Since The March on Washington

    Today, 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and proclaimed his dream for an equal America, we recognize the courage and strength that the leaders of the civil rights movement endured. Following the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Democrats fought for the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights act, taking the biggest steps for equal rights in generations. Today, Democrats reflect on the past and promise to continue to fight every day for equality and opportunity for all, to make sure that we do not forget the legacy of Dr. King and his fellow civil rights leaders.

    Today, 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and proclaimed his dream for an equal America, we recognize the courage and strength that the leaders of the civil rights movement endured. Following the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Democrats fought for the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights act, taking the biggest steps for equal rights in generations. Today, Democrats reflect on the past and promise to continue to fight every day for equality and opportunity for all, to make sure that we do not forget the legacy of Dr. King and his fellow civil rights leaders.

  • 48 years after Bloody Sunday, the fight for voting rights continues

    In 1965, 600 Americans set out on foot toward Montgomery, Alabama, marching for a fairer America where all eligible citizens could register to vote and cast a ballot without fear or intimidation—and have their votes counted.

    But when they reached the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, the marchers were met by state troopers, who ordered the "unlawful assembly" to disperse. As they knelt to pray, the peaceful protesters were brutally attacked by 150 troopers with billy clubs and tear gas. Fifty-eight people, including a 25-year-old John Lewis, were sent to the hospital with injuries. March 7, 1965, became known as Bloody Sunday.

    In 2013, more than 15,000 citizens re-creating the march were joined by the Vice President of the United States, who crossed the bridge arm-in-arm with Congressman Lewis and many others who led the fight for voting rights. We've made a tremendous amount of progress in 48 years. But even in 2013, the fight continues.

    Right now, the Supreme Court is considering challenges to the Voting Rights Act, whose 1965 passage was spurred by the resolve of the marchers at Selma. The Voting Rights Act struck down Jim Crow laws and measures intended to disenfranchise African American voters. In the years since, this historic, still-vitally necessary piece of legislation has been reauthorized four times with tremendous bipartisan support. The provision in question says that any changes in voting laws or procedures in the 16 states and jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination must be pre-cleared with the federal government—but even in 2013, it's necessary to ensure everyone who wants to cast a ballot can.

    Just last year, Republican governors, state legislatures, and conservative activists passed laws making it more difficult to vote—laws that would have a significantly disproportionate impact on minorities, the very populations whose access to the ballot has been protected by the Voting Rights Act for nearly half a century. Republicans tried a variety of tactics: slashing the amount of time available for early voting, enacting photo ID laws, and voter purges. Democrats and voting rights activists challenged many of these restrictions in court, and the courts blocked many of the worst measures.

    But what stood out the most in 2012 was the persistence of everyday citizens who were determined to cast their ballots. From the 300,000 Ohioans whose signatures fought back against attempts to change election rules to the 102-year-old voter in Florida who was told she'd have to wait in line for six hours to cast a ballot, the American people refused to let others trample on our rights—the rights that marchers, 48 years ago today, fought so hard for.

    As President Obama said just weeks ago in his second inaugural address, "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

    "It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began."

    For more information on voting rights, check out the Voting Rights Institute and sign up for updates.

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