WASHINGTON, D.C. – National Association of Social Workers (NASW) President, Mildred Joyner, has released the following statement following Senate’s motion to proceed to debate on the For the People Act. The Republican minority used the Senate’s filibuster rule to defeat the motion to proceed. The move effectively scuttled this important voting protection and voting integrity legislation which was backed by the White House, the Senate Democrats and ― most importantly ― the bill has the support of the American people.
“It is without a doubt that our nation is on the precipice of an existential crisis of its democracy. The wave of voting suppression legislation over the last 90 days threatens to return this country to horrors of the Jim Crow era. We had a ray of hope when the American people turned out in record numbers in November 2020 to vote for Joe Biden. However, that ray of hope has dimmed by 50 Republican Senators who blocked debate of the For the People Act. By using the filibuster ― a Senate rule stained by a racist history ― the Republicans gave aid and comfort to the voter suppression movement aimed primarily at Black and Brown Americans. Their maneuver perpetuates racist and undemocratic attacks on one of the basic freedoms guaranteed to all Americans ― the freedom to vote.
“This wholesale rejection of an opportunity for bipartisan affirmation of the sanctity of protecting the right to vote and the preservation of voting integrity in the United States delivers an ominous message ―there is a clear, organized threat against American democracy. The legislative efforts most recently initiated by Texas and Georgia ― along with the unprecedented violent insurrection on Capitol Hill ―are fueled by the “big lie” that the last presidential election was stolen. Such “in your face” direct attempts to delegitimize the voices of voters who demand change cannot be tolerated. One of our first steps is to embrace the fact that the For the People Act is an opportunity to end this assault on our democracy. Therefore, we cannot let the arcane rules of the Senate block the will of the American people. The majority of
American people and the Senate support the For the People Act; therefore, NASW is t making an all-out effort to join our civil rights and social justice allies to pass voting rights reform now.”
“NASW members, chapter leaders and its national leadership will continue to fight to protect the freedom to vote so we can build an inclusive, multiracial democracy where all can participate, no matter where we are from or our racial identity. Such actions conform with NASW’s historical legacy of fighting for voting rights. After all, it was an NASW President ― Whitney Young ― who was present at the White House signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “