The Houston branch of the NAACP has announced a press conference and rally in the fight against voter suppression. The rally is set to occur on Friday (May 21) from 4 to 6 p.m. in front of the Greater Houston Partnership located at 701 Avenida De Las Americas.
Earlier this month, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo both canceled speeches at the GHP due to the partnership’s silence over restrictive voting bills proposed in the Texas Legislature.
“Voting rights in Texas is the civil rights fight of our time,” Judge Hidalgo said on May 5. “We simply cannot tacitly endorse GHP’s refusal to consider speaking out on this issue.”
The NAACP’s goal is to “let corporate America and lawmakers” understand their fight for citizens to “freely and fairly” vote.
“This is one of those defining moments, and years from now, people will ask where were you at this defining moment? Where were you and what did you do?” Turner said. “If we don’t stand up and speak out, then we must hold ourselves accountable for what ultimately ends up happening.”
Not long after Hidalgo and Turner revealed they weren’t speaking in front of the GHP, the group released a statement saying, “The Greater Houston Partnership is proud of the important work we do with the City of Houston and Harris County — and with Mayor Turner and Judge Hidalgo specifically — as we work together to create jobs and opportunity for all Houstonians. We regret they have cancelled these long-standing events, which our members greatly enjoy.”
The statement continued, “As Mayor Turner and Judge Hidalgo expressed, they are disappointed that the Partnership has not joined them in taking a formal position against the voting bills being considered in Austin. We trust that Mayor Turner and Judge Hidalgo respect that the Partnership has its own process by which our 140-member board takes policy positions on behalf of our 1,000 member companies, a process that requires a clear board consensus which does not exist on the legislation. As in this case, this process does not always lead to alignment with our elected officials.”
The Texas Legislature is on course to become the largest governing body in the country to enact swift voting restrictions and has utilized unfound claims of election fraud in the 2020 election to do so. The move is similar to bills enacted by the state legislatures in Florida and Georgia which were met with widespread criticism.