Neither Mary Rose Wilcox nor Pastor Warren Stewart reached their respective goals of winning a seat in Congress or on the Phoenix City Council, but they vow to continue serving as community activists.
Both are aiming to stir their communities to make changes through voting, and they've timed it align with the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act next year.
"We thought it was important to have more interaction with the community, and to educate [citizens] about their rights, and through that, urge them to register, and more importantly, to vote," Wilcox tells New Times.
Wilcox, who lost her bid for Arizona's 7th Congressional District to Ruben Gallego during the August primary, and Stewart, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the city's District 8, co-chair the Black/Brown Coalition Coalition of Arizona.
The Coalition was formed in 2012 to pursue social justice and fight for human and civil rights in Arizona -- and it just started a Voting Rights Committee.
"As we gear up to celebrate that (50th) anniversary, we want to remind people of how hard it was to get their right to vote," Wilcox says, adding that their registration and voter drives are aligned with other local groups, like Mi Familia Vota, who are also making the same push.
Coalition members want the community to show their support and attend the Committee's first meeting at 5 p.m. on October 6 at El Portal Restaurant, 117 W Grant Street in Phoenix.
"It's important that our communities re-ignite our passion for voting to effect change," Wilcox says. "Our communities had to fight for our right to vote, and it's important that we exercise that right at every election. We can't let barriers keep us from casting our ballots and making our voices heard."
Beyond pushing for increased voter turnout -- as are Democrats across the field -- Wilcox and Stewart say they will work with Congress to restore portions of the Voting Rights Act that were rendered invalid by a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case.
They note that the affected sections of the Voting Rights Act that are now null deal specifically with preventing certain jurisdictions from engaging in discriminatory voting practices, particularly where voter suppression has been known to occurr.
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