John Lewis: Good Trouble is a new documentary about Congressman John Lewis, an American hero and inspirational symbol of civil and voting rights. Using recent interviews with Lewis, the film explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family, and his fateful meeting with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957.
The GOOD TROUBLE CAMPAIGN celebrates the legacy of Congressman Lewis, as we fight against the injustice of voter suppression. Current voter suppression tactics prevent millions of citizens from having their voices heard and votes counted. This year, we’re making good trouble together to increase voter turnout and fight voter suppression.
MAKE GOOD TROUBLE
In 2013, the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder allowed for a wave of new voter suppression laws that make it harder for poor communities, immigrant communities, indigenous communities, and communities of color to vote. This is especially true in southern states where the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow are ever-present.
To combat this, you can use your voice and privilege to support others’ right to vote.
Check out the highlighted states below to see where voter suppression is already silencing voters at alarming rates (Source: Brennan Center) and then help empower disenfranchised communities by facilitating others to register to vote.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can follow in the footsteps of John Lewis and make good trouble by helping get out the vote in your community and supporting the Good Trouble campaign. $1.50 will help 1 more person register to vote in states most impacted by voter suppression. Register2Vote makes it easy to register voters by sending a pre-filled voter registration form and a stamped envelope to eligible unregistered voters so all they have to do is sign it and drop it in the mail. This system has been used to register thousands of voters since 2018 and we hope to help register many more. Help register voters here.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is considered one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history. It came about as a direct result of the work of John Lewis, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, with the goal of overcoming state and local laws that denied Black people their constitutional right to vote. Prior to the passing of the VRA, various blatantly discriminatory practices were used to prevent Black people from voting. The Act enshrines on every American citizen the equal opportunity to vote. Unfortunately, in 2013, the Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder gutted the Voting Rights Act. (Read more: Brennan Center)
In 2013 the Supreme Court did away with one of the most important provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 4 made it so counties with a history of race-based discriminatory election practices couldn’t change the rules without “preclearing” them first with the U.S. Justice Department. Within hours of the ruling, a floodgate of new voter suppression laws were enacted to restrict the equal opportunity to vote. (Read More: Brennan Center)
While voter suppression has existed since the beginning of our democracy, over the last 10 years it has become more prevalent than ever. In 2013, the Supreme Court decision to gut the VRA allowed states to make it intentionally difficult for people to vote by enacting strict voter ID laws, reducing early voting days, shortening voting times, restricting voter registration and purging voter rolls (deleting registered voters off the system). These tactics are meant to keep voters away from the ballot box, particularly people of color, poor people, the young and the old. And it works - because of these laws, significant numbers of eligible voters have been kept from exercising their fundamental right to participate in democracy. (Read More: Brennan Center)
Since the beginning of our democracy, voter suppression laws have disenfranchised Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander communities; poor people, seniors, immigrants, and people with disabilities. Furthermore, 6.1 million Americans are excluded from the democratic process due to criminal disenfranchisement laws (Sentencing Project). These laws take away from people the right to vote simply based on a criminal past. (Read more: Brennan Center)
While voter suppression laws exist in a number of states, Georgia and North Carolina are two of the most impacted. The Shelby County v. Holder decision coupled with a legacy of voter suppression allowed an all-out assault on voting rights. Additionally, these two states meant a lot to Congressman Lewis. He was the President of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) which was founded in North Carolina, and Georgia was Congressman Lewis’ adopted home state, where his legacy is embedded in local history and culture. Both states also have competitive Senate races, the outcomes of which will be crucial to whether or not the Voting Rights Act will be reinstated next year.
The right to vote is critical for an effective and fair democracy that works for all of us. For $1.50 per person, you can help fight voter suppression in states that need it most, like Georgia.
We're partnering with Register2Vote, a non-profit and non-partisan, voting rights organization, to mail pre-filled voter registration forms to eligible unregistered voters. Recipients will also receive a pre-stamped return envelope, so all they have to do is sign it and drop it in the mail. Then, Register2vote will track it to make sure it arrives safely at the County Registrar. By lowering the barriers to voter registration, we can make a difference in the fight against voter suppression.
HOW TO USE:
1) Use the map navigation or search bar/magnifying glass icon to find the exact location you want to help. You can dive into specific counties and voting precincts! Use the Percent Funded tool (in purple) to identify which areas need the most support.
2) Once your location is visible in the box in the lower left of the map, use the + and – buttons to easily select how many registrations you want to send.
3) Complete your action by clicking the blue button.
Social Media Assets
If voting didn’t matter, it wouldn’t be so difficult. This Juneteenth, join the fight to protect voting rights with Civil Rights hero @RepJohnlewis in honor of the upcoming @johnlewisdoc. It’s time to #MakeGoodTrouble bit.ly/Make-Good-Trouble. @participant
Our Other Films
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the fight for racial justice continues. When They See Us and Just Mercy illustrate the pervasive injustice of systemic racism. And while protests are an important tool in moving us closer to equity, preserving everyone’s right to vote is vital to ensuring equity – and that’s the subject of our films John Lewis: Good Trouble as well as Slay The Dragon.