“Now we go to work.” An Open Letter to the Civil Rights Community from Project Vote’s President

By Michael Slater November 9, 2016

On November 9, the morning after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Project Vote President Michael Slater sent the following message to our friends in the civil and voting rights communities.

Dear Colleagues:

There’s no point in sugarcoating it: we’re in for a hard four years if Mr. Trump follows through on his campaign rhetoric.

Last night the American people elected as president a man who ran a campaign that stood in horrifyingly stark opposition to the shared ideals for which we all have fought. He has expressed, embraced, and emboldened the worst American qualities of racism, religious intolerance, and misogyny. He has perpetuated a culture of xenophobia and fear. He has pushed a narrative of ­distrust, discrimination, and disenfranchisement. And all indications are that he has risen to power on a seemingly unprecedented wave of voting by white, rural and exurban voters inspired and mobilized by his message of hate.

donate-box2The consequences of this election will likely be severe and long-lasting for the entire nation, in every way. But what it means for our work is that we have greater legal and policy fights ahead of us than we’ve seen in generations. We can expect newly emboldened lawmakers to double-down on policies that disenfranchise and disempower black, Latino, Asian, Muslim, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ Americans. We can expect rhetorical and legal attacks on these populations, and all efforts to expand their access to the ballot. We can anticipate a Justice Department that brings assaults on civil rights, rather than defends against them. We can expect new efforts to make it harder to vote, and new attempts to strip Americans of every federal voting rights protection.

There is nothing certain now, except this: we will be needed. The American people will need every lawyer, every organizer, every advocate for their voices and their rights. We as a nation have endured and triumphed over every kind of challenge, and we must now commit anew to fight harder than ever. We must rededicate ourselves to the struggle: to persevere through this dark chapter, to push back against a discriminatory agenda, and to prevent ideologies of hate from being institutionalized into American democracy.

There is little comfort to be had today, but there is hope. I take hope and strength from all of you, from your dedication and your determination, and from your steadfast refusal to surrender. And, on behalf of everyone at Project Vote, I recommit to holding the line on voting and civil rights, and to fighting the good fight for equality and inclusion for all Americans.

The election is over. Now we go to work.

In solidarity,

Michael Slater