Honoring an American Hero: John Lewis Day Votercade Rally for Voting Rights

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On May 8th, 2021, the city of Joliet came together to celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights titan John Lewis. The John Lewis Day of Action Votercade parade and rally honored Lewis’ spirit by demanding national voting rights protections he fought so tirelessly for.

Remembering a Pioneer of “Good Trouble”

John Lewis was a pioneer of the civil rights movement, risking his life fighting for racial justice and equality. He was one of the original Freedom Riders, and almost died after being brutally beaten by police on Bloody Sunday in Selma. Lewis dedicated his life to the principle that the vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool for change.

The John Lewis Day of Action honored his legacy as a master of “good trouble.” All across America, people rallied to continue his fight to protect and expand voting rights. The day marked a nationwide call to pass critical reforms like the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC statehood.

A Votercade to Inspire Joliet

Here in Joliet, the “Speak Up and Vote” committee organized a Votercade parade and rally to join the national day of action. The event upheld Lewis’ guiding belief that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things when they stand up against injustice.

We hosted the Votercade at All Nations Church. Pastor Dwayne Barefield generously provided parking space and rode along during the parade, bringing faith community representation. A procession of vibrantly decorated vehicles blazed through Joliet to draw attention to threats against voting rights.

Rallying for Equity and Representation

The parade route wove through Joliet to symbolize the long road ahead for voting rights protections. Banners and signs on the Votercade vehicles highlighted how reforms like the For the People Act and abolition of the filibuster are critical to secure free and fair access to democracy.

State Senator John Connor marched with us as well, emphasizing that change must come from all levels of government. Having an elected official join our grassroots activism showed the power ordinary citizens have in inspiring their representatives.

Energizing Joliet to Continue the Fight

Local media personalities Erica Holmes and Tycee Bell also marched and helped publicize the event. Their participation gave our Votercade excellent exposure, allowing us to educate the wider Joliet community about ongoing voting rights issues.

Seeing their neighbors rally seemed to energize residents. The event created an atmosphere of hope and solidarity, proving our community is ready to carry on John Lewis’ legacy. Though Lewis is no longer with us, his spirit lives on in Joliet and beyond.

Marching Forward in Lewis’ Footsteps

The passionate response to the Votercade showed that Lewis’ truth continues marching onward. Though we’ve come far, there are still miles to go before voting rights are truly secured for all. This event brought us one step closer on that journey.

We thank all who marched, rallied, and supported this community initiative. Let Lewis’ courage inspire us all to get into “good trouble” to protect and expand access to the ballot box. When ordinary people stand united, we have the power to form a more just and equitable society.

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