Decatur, GA (April 11, 2021) — In light of the passage of the anti-voting rights bill (SB202) in Georgia and the 361 bills introduced in 47 states, the members of the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC), also known as the Divine Nine, are deeply saddened by the sweeping introduction of legislation to lock black and people of color out of the most fundamental expression of American citizenship, the right to vote. In the aftermath of this odious assault on voting rights, our collective organizations aggressively stand against these voter suppression bills.
These efforts come only two months after the historic win of the US Senate run-off elections. Lawmakers across the country instantly reverted to their old tricks of using legislation to fuel oppression and hate. These voter suppression bills also roll back much of the progress achieved under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 required certain jurisdictions –those determined to have a history of racial discrimination in voting—to preclear any proposed voting changes with the Justice Department or federal court in Washington, DC. Without this protection, these voter suppression bills will negatively impact our communities for years to come. Unfortunately, most are not shocked by their actions and anticipated such responses. Consequently, we must start preparing now for the next attack during states’ redistricting processes through the implementation of gerrymandering tactics, such as “cracking” and “packing” to dilute voting power and representation even more.
Therefore, the NPHC fervently resists these legislative efforts to suppress voting rights across the country. We encourage our members to monitor voter suppression bills that are being considered in their state; to use their voices to raise awareness about such legislation; and to work to stop these bills before they are adopted. Members can track legislation in their state by going to this tool from the Brennan Center for Justice, https//www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/state-voting-bills-tracker-2021.
In states where new voting restrictions have been adopted, we urge members to become familiar with the new requirements and engage in intensive community education to prepare voters for upcoming elections.
In lieu of boycotting in your state, the NPHC calls for corporate accountability by urging business allies to not be silent during this crucial time, but instead to lend their influence and voices to the fight. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
NPHC also urges members of Congress to take immediate action to protect the rights of voters by passing the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, historic legislative opportunities to protect voting rights. The transformational reforms in these bills would make our political system more equitable, more representative, and more accountable to the people.
National Council of Presidents
Dr. Willis L. Lonzer, III
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Dr. Glenda Glover
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Reuben A. Shelton, III, Esq., Vice Chairman
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Dr. David E. Marion, Chairman
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Beverly E. Smith
National President & CEO
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Micheal E. Cristal
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Valerie Hollingsworth Baker
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Rasheeda S. Liberty
International Grand Basileus
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Andre R. Manson
International Grand Polaris
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Incorporated (NPHC) is currently composed of nine (9) International Greek letter Sororities and Fraternities: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. For more information, visit www.nphchq.org or CONTACT: Vanetta Cheeks Reeder, 404-942-3257, email@example.com.