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Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Supports the John Lewis Voting Rights Act

Fraternity Urges Senate to pass H.R. 4

(Baltimore, MD) – Citing the urgency to protect the voting rights of millions of Black and Latino voters across the nation, the 23rd International Grand Polaris of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. called upon the United States Senate to pass H.R.4., the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The legislation restores many of the voting protections in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were subverted by state laws and the United States Supreme Court. 

International Grand Polaris Sean D. Housen Sr., declared, "The time has come for the United States Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. We agree with President Joe Biden that you either stand on the side of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or with segregationist Governor George Wallace. Across the nation, but particularly in southern states, the voting rights of Black and brown voters are being suppressed. We must not allow Jim Crow to rear its ugly head in America again." 

The United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 4 in August 2021 with no Republican support and the bill has faced opposition by the Republican Senate minority. There is not sufficient bipartisan support to overcome an expected filibuster by Senate Republicans. President Joe Biden has called upon the Democratic majority in the Senate to suspend the chamber's rules to allow a straight party-line vote on H.R. 4. However, two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, are opposing any change in the Senate rules. 

Housen added, "This is a time for the Senate to rise above pettiness and put the interests of our nation first. We appeal to Senators Manchin and Sinema to drop their opposition to the rules change and join their fellow Democrats to pass this important bill. It is time for good trouble in -more- America and our fraternity is recommitting our efforts during this critical time in our nation's history. We cannot sit by silently as the rights fought for and won by our ancestors with their blood, sweat and tears is being systemically taken from us." 

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. was founded on September 19, 1963, on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, just days after the murder of four Black girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama and just a month after the historic March on Washington. Established by a group of older students, the fraternity has a historic commitment to community service and civic engagement given its founding during the civil rights movement. The fraternity maintains its national headquarters in Baltimore. 


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