Voting Rights Advocates Take Stand Against Voter Intimidation in North Miami

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     
November 6, 2016                                             
CONTACT     
Jeralyn Cave, 412-682-0798, jcave@advancementproject.com                                                 
Renee’ Mowatt, 407-575-3094, renee@newfloridamajority.org

              

Voting Rights Advocates Take Stand Against Voter Intimidation in North Miami

National, Local Groups Come Together to Honor 106-year-old Desiline Victor for Voting Rights Advocacy 

 

NORTH MIAMI, FL – Today, New Florida Majority in partnership with Advancement Project, the Haitian Women of Miami (FANM) and Joy of Voting, honored voting rights advocate Desiline Victor at a Get Out The Vote celebration encouraging people of color to vote in the 2016 elections. Despite countless attempts to deter and intimidate voters across the country, community organizations came together to stand by voters this election.

“What we’ve seen in Florida are systemic attempts to stop Black and Brown people from making it to the polls. Barriers have been strategically placed and found in every step of the voting process from registration all the way to the ballot box,” said Gihan Perera, executive director of the New Florida Majority. “The presence of long lines at the polls is one of the most apparent obstacles that communities of color face on Election Day. That’s what makes coming together to honor Desiline Victor so powerful.”

Victor, currently 106-years-old, is a Haitian-American Florida resident who gained national notoriety after waiting six hours in line to vote at North Miami Library during the 2012 election. She was given a standing ovation during President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address for her determination to cast her ballot. Today at the same library where she faced enormous obstacles, and where a wing is now dedicated in her honor, grassroots organizations, community leaders and voting rights advocates encouraged Black and Brown voters to resist voter intimidation efforts surfacing throughout the state.

“She is an inspiration to the movement for voting rights. She didn’t let anything stop her on Election Day in 2012,” said Mathieu Pierre Louis, Victor’s son and chair of the Desiline Victor Foundation. “We are excited that Desiline will once again cast a ballot in this year’s election.  We’re encouraging everyone to get out and vote with the legendary spirit of advocacy that Desiline holds.”

“With Florida having a long history of making it harder for communities of color to vote, Desiline Victor’s example is as important as ever,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project’s national office. “As we congratulate her for her outstanding efforts and advocacy, we recommit to working to make voting easier, not harder, for communities of color.”

During the event, Desiline Victor cast her ballot on the last day of early voting in Florida.

###

The New Florida Majority (NewFM) is an independent statewide organization working to increase the voting and political power of historically marginalized and excluded constituencies toward an inclusive, equitable, and just Florida. It does this by helping local residents to both engage the current political system as well as replace those who fail to provide the kind of leadership that communities need and desire.

The Desiline Victor Foundation is a non-profit organization that is committed to improving voting conditions for elderly citizens through advocacy and to articulate the rights of those who are unable to speak for themselves. The Foundation fosters, supports, and engages in activities that involve humanitarian relief, socio-economic development, progress and ideals for our elderly community and, most importantly, their right to vote.

Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.