The Rev. Al Sharpton, third from right in front, holds a banner with Martin Luther King, III, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, second from right, and Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, right, among others, during the march to call for sweeping protections against a further erosion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Organizers of an event that seeks to block the state’s redistricting maps as drawn up by Texas Republicans said in a released statement, “It is quite obvious that we’ve been subjected to and bombarded with rips in our Democratic fiber with recent legislation against women’s abortion rights (Roe vs Wade), voting rights, gun control, immigration & DACA rights, as well as immigration reform.

“Now Governor Abbott and the Republican leadership and dominated legislature, have launched yet another scheme to deny voting opportunities for African Americans to elect persons who represent their interests, by proposing a redistricting plan based on a charade to redraw the 150 member Texas House districts to account for population changes.”

Today at 5pm at Emancipation Park, the “Restore the 18th Congressional District Rally” will be held to galvanize people of good faith to lift their voices to right what constituents of both Jackon Lee’s and Green’s districts, and many others, consider to be a monumental wrong.

“Based on the proposed plan,” continued the statement by rally organizers on the GOP’s redistricting map, “they would add six more districts with predominantly
white voters and unfortunately eliminate three minority districts, thus diluting our political power.

Consequently, Republican legislators are attempting to deny voting rights by imposing
physical measures and restrictions by redrawing district lines to make it difficult to select candidates of our own choosing who represent the interest of Black and Brown constituents.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 created the ability to draw congressional districts, including the 18th Congressional District, as “Opportunity Districts”. Changing it as proposed will deny these current districts to serve as “Opportunity Districts”. It is believed that electing Democratic representatives, specifically African Americans, into districts that were formerly bi-partisan, diminishes the influence of Africans Americans in diverse districts. It allows those candidates to simply pander to less progressive mindsets, erasing the voice of African Americans and other minorities.

Rally organizers hope the general public understands that these are attacks against our “democracy” and our protected right to vote and equal representation.

“We stand in unity as patriots and declare that enough is enough,” said the released statement.

In Harris County, one of the most historic congressional districts is the 18th Congressional District and was created after passing of the Voting Rights Act. The 18th has been well represented by historic leaders including the late Congresspersons Barbara Jordan and Mickey Leland and former Congressman Craig Washington. For the last 26 years, the district has been represented by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

A diverse cross-section of community organizations, elected officials, community leaders and concerned citizens are scheduled to make their disdain known by rallying an outcry about the callous attempts to gerrymander districts. This “Call to Action” seeks to inspire the community to rise up and let Texas legislators know that everything will be done within their power to protect their districts.