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West Virginians Hold Candlelight Vigil to Remember John Lewis

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Monday, July 19, 2021   

CHARLESTON, W.V. -- Advocacy groups held a candlelight vigil in Charleston over the weekend, marking the one-year anniversary of the passing of Georgia Congressman and civil-rights activist John Lewis, and asking West Virginia lawmakers to support national standards to protect voting rights.

Katonya Hart, vice president of the NAACP of West Virginia and the event emcee, said statewide, voters have indicated they approve of measures to expand and safeguard voting access.

"The polls show that 79% of West Virginians are for the 'For The People Act,'" Hart reported. "Overwhelmingly, they want to see the John Lewis Voting Act passed."

The two bills being considered by Congress would increase voting options and access nationwide, increase transparency of election donations, and restore provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Charleston vigil was part of more than a hundred events held across the country.

Sally Roberts, volunteer chair of Rise Up WV and an organizer of the event, said it is important for West Virginians to show they care about the right to vote, despite setbacks from some U.S. Senators, including from West Virginia, whom critics noted are blocking passage of the legislation.

"So that every person in America can have a government that fully represents them and the concerns that matter most to them, from health care to creating jobs," Roberts urged.

Martin Luther King III and his wife, Arndrea Waters King, also announced over the weekend they are launching an online campaign, called 'hashtag For John,' aimed at honoring the late Georgia Congressman, while raising money for voting-rights activism.


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