CAIR-Chicago Governmental Relations Coordinator Sadiya Ahmed attended the Midwest Voting Rights Act Summit sponsored by the ACLU-Illinois on Friday, January 20th, 2006. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 set a national ban on policies that prohibited minorities from voting such as literacy tests in order put the Fifteen Amendment into practice. Since the 1970s, Congress has extended the Act, first by five years, then by seven, and finally in the 19780s by twenty-five years. The Summit marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of the VRA.
Dignitaries such as the Judge Rubin Castillo and Jesse Jackson Sr. of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition addressed an audience of civil rights activists, lawyers, and coalition leaders from around the Midwest. The all day conference held at the American Bar Association focused on accomplishments of the past, changes needed in the present, and challenges in the future. In addition, the legal and technical aspects of the Voting Rights Act were discussed for attendees to bring back to their respective communities.
Host committee members included: Asian American Institute, Asian American Justice Center, Black Women Lawyers Association, Center For New Community, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Chicago Urban League, Cook County Bar Association, Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago, Council on Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Japanese American Citizens League, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, League of Women Voters of Illinois, Mandel Legal Clinic – University of Chicago Law School, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – Southside Chicago Branch, National Council of Negro Women – Chicago Midwest Section, People for the American Way Foundation, Protestants for the Common Good, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, and Young Women’s Christian Association of Illinois.
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