WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), author of the End Racial Profiling Act, discussed the need to continue to fight for justice, civil rights, voting rights and equal economic opportunity at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) America’s Journey for Justice rally at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.
“The NAACP’s Justice Summer March gives me great hope for this country. I was honored to stand among the men and women who have trekked more than a thousand miles to call on Congress to restore voting rights, end racial profiling and promote economic equality for all Americans. The immense diversity of people representing civil rights groups, religious groups, environmental groups and the hard working men and women of our labor unions shows just how deep the desire for justice is in this country.
“Though the group was diverse, we spoke with one voice in calling on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act and to pass Senator Leahy’s Voting Rights Advancement Act. In this country, we should always be working to advance voting rights and fight attempts to roll them back. We’ve got to move forward and while talking about voting rights we cannot forget brothers and sisters in Washington, D.C., who deserve a voting representative in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. I am proud to support DC statehood. We also must remember the millions of ex-offenders who have served their time but are still denied the right to vote. I introduced legislation to return the vote and the obligations of serving on juries to ex-felons.
“Before I spoke, Senator Durbin discussed some of the tragedies of our criminal justice system. His comments reinforced the need to undertake comprehensive criminal justice reform in the United States. In the shadow of the Capitol Dome, I wanted to remind everyone gathered that we would not forget Freddie Gray, and we will not forget any of the tragedies that occur in our criminal justice system. Long before Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray or the loss of many other Americans, I called for an end to racial profiling. It is un-American, it is ineffective, it breeds mistrust towards police and it does not work. My End Racial Profiling Act is a top priority for the NAACP, Americans of all races, genders, national origins, religion, sexual orientations or gender identity.
“Some of the fights highlighted at the Justice Summer Rally are old fights, some are newer. I believe that we will prevail in these struggles in large part because of the depth and breadth of commitment of the people who gathered. I am proud to stand with them in the United States Senate and thank them for their commitment to molding a more perfect union.”