Film Night Suppressed: voting rights in 2020 and beyond

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Watch and discuss Suppressed 2020 & 2021

About this Event

" If your vote didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be trying to stop it " (Stacey Abrams)

We are honored to announce that Dr. Hardie Davis Jr, the Mayor of Augusta, Georgia, has provided a personal and inspiring message as a welcome to this DAUK Film Night. He speaks from the eye of the storm in the fight against voter suppression.

On March 24th the Senate opened its hearings on For The People Act, the most important voting rights legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Join us to view and discuss two riveting documentaries about voter suppression in the 2020 election and Republican plans to restrict voting rights as their major route to victory in 2022.

Why is this so urgent? We won - but just barely - in 2020 due to a number of factors, but key was achieving the highest voter turnout in over a century. This was the result of extraordinarily successful efforts to GOTV alongside provision for easier ways to register to vote and cast ballots - e.g. ‘no-excuse’ mail-in voting, drop-off voting, and extensions to early voting.

While the outcome of the 2020 elections was pivotal for preserving the foundations of our democratic institutions, winning in 2022 is essential for ensuring we can get on track to address economic and social justice, the vitality of our democratic institutions and the future of our planet.

We know this and so do the Republicans. Their immediate response has been to sharpen their tools for voter suppression. At last count over 360 laws have been introduced in state legislatures in 47 states to restrict voting rights. These are brazen in their mission and surgical in their precision in suppressing Democratic votes - the poor, the young, but with a particular focus on minority, Latinos, Asian-Americans, and especially African American voters.

As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently said : "If one political party believes that when you lose an election, the answer isn't to win more votes but rather to try and prevent the other side from voting, we have an existential threat to democracy on our hands."

This Film Night is a collaboration among the Film Committee, the DAUK GOTV and Voter Registration Committee and the Policy Network Voting Rights and Democracy Group.

Schedule:

6:15 Doors open to Waiting Room

6:30 Introduction and welcome

6:33 Screening of Suppressed 2020(40m)

7: 14 Screening of Suppressed 2021 (5 min)

7:24: After-screening discussion begins

Presentations by Eldrid Herrington and Linda Adeson in conversation

7:50: Q and As

8:15: Evening ends

About the film

Robert Greenwald’s Suppressed and his short update - Suppressed 2021 - provide a basic primer on the voter suppression tactics used throughout the country, with many examples drawn from Georgia. Illustrated with very personal stories, the documentary is clear and comprehensive, using the voices of voters to make the compelling case that attacks on the basic right to cast a ballot are playing out under the colonnades of state houses countrywide masquerading as efforts to combat voter fraud - a problem that has repeatedly been demonstrated to be a 'non-issue'.

The music is haunting as are the stories told by voters ‘just trying to vote.’ One military veteran pointed out that it was ‘easier to vote from Bosnia or Iraq’ than from North Carolina.

But obstacles are just part of the story. Focusing on the work done by Abrams and others in Georgia, it demonstrates how organized, committed, persistent GOTV teams can overcome these challenges.

These films will serve as an excellent springboard for an after-screening discussion that will include explanations of how some specific measures, such as Voter ID laws, actually operate to deter voters from voting, how they impact particular groups and what measures we can take to combat voter suppression.

Note: Suppressed 2020 is captioned, and we are attempting to get a captioned version of Suppressed 2021.

Thanks to: Brave New Films for the license to screen and the provision of a captioned version. This event is open for bookings by all Democrats Abroad members across the globe.

About the after-screening discussion and our speakers

The after screening discussion will be led by our own DAUK experts Linda Adeson, Eldrid Harrington and Maya Buchanan, who have also been integral to the GOTV efforts of DA Global. They will update you on these voter suppression tactics, how they can be countered and what we can do to ensure that our overseas ballots are counted and to support voting rights campaigns and GOTV efforts at home.

About our speakers

Maya Buchanan will chair the after-screening discussion. Maya grew up in the California Bay Area and Northern New Mexico and has lived in the UK for nearly 30 years. She is married with two teenage sons. Maya works for a geopolitical think-tank and her professional background is in design and project management. Serving community was part of Maya’s family ethic and value system led by a mother who had worked in the Civil Rights movement in her youth. Maya became involved in DAUK in 2017 and felt instinctively drawn towards Democracy and voting rights issues. She is Chair of DA Voter Protection (and a former lead on the Voter Protection-Georgia project), Chair of DAUK PNR Voting Rights and Democracy group and is a DPCA Voting Representative. She is a former Executive Committee member of both DAUK and the DAUK Oxford chapter and is a member of the DAUK and Global Black Caucuses and the DAUK Women’s Caucus.

Dr. Eldrid Herrington was born in Boston and grew up in DC. She received a BA from Princeton and an MPhil and PhD from the University of Cambridge. Over her 30 year career she has been a professor at Boston University, University College Dublin, University of Exeter, University of the Arts London, University of Cambridge, and University of Oxford. She has been a US National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, a British Overseas Scholar, and a Government of Ireland Fellow. In the past five years she has been he has been a visiting fellow in history at the University of Oxford, a visiting lecturer in English literature at the University of Cambridge and a senior research fellow in medicine at Queen Mary, University of London. She has published on literature, history, medicine, psychology, education, and sociology as well as on political science for the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics. She was a member of the NIHR Covid-19 Urgent Public Health committee, which made bi-weekly recommendations on research priorities to the CMO, and is a member of the UK Research Recovery Group, among many other national and local public health and government committees.

In 2016, Dr Herrington was an organizer for Hillary for America in Clark County, Nevada and in 2018 an organizer for Stacey Abrams in Clayton, Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. She is a mother to five and a grandmother to four.

Linda Adeson currently serves as the Co-Chair for Vote From Abroad Global Comms and Chair of Global Student Outreach, as well as Co-Chair of Voter Registration/GOTV of DAUK. A passionate believer in making voting easier, Linda has also worked with local voting groups in Michigan to pass an anti-gerrymandering initiative, due to be enacted in 2021.

Linda has lived in London for the past 26 years and also runs a small seasonal bakery in Michigan.

Please contact films@democratsabroad.org.uk with any questions or problems.

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