Films Stress the Urgency of Voting

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  • Washington, D.C. – Award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till) and Advancement Project, a civil and voting rights group, have collaborated for a trilogy of inspiring short films. Telling the stories of everyday people who stood up for the right to vote this year in the face of trying obstacles, the approximately three-minute documentaries encourage all citizens to vote on November 6. Each is branded with the tagline: They Stood Up. So Can You. Vote.

    The lead litigator in several successful lawsuits that challenged new photo ID laws across the country, Advancement Project also works on the ground helping local groups increase access to the ballot. Nelson’s compelling documentaries feature both the ordinary people behind the headlines and organized state partners working on the ground.

    “Those of us who work to uphold the right to vote in this country, from the courtrooms to the streets, could never do it without the courage of everyday Americans who stand up for their right to participate in democracy,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “We are thrilled to work with Stanley Nelson, whose team movingly illustrated their stories.”

    The short films’ stories include:

    •       Bettye Jones, the lead plaintiff in AP’s lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s photo ID law, and her daughter Debra Crawford. They detail their extensive, aggravating efforts to get a state-issued photo ID for Bettye, a lifelong voter who was never issued a birth certificate. (See video below)

    •       Elvira Diaz, a community organizer from Nevada, who launched a campaign to register Latino voters. Her efforts were met with hostility from individuals who harassed her and other volunteers.

    •       Emmanuel Aziz and Joy Lieberman, both plaintiffs in an AP lawsuit opposed to a Missouri photo ID ballot initiative. Joy feared a glitch on her birth certificate would prevent her from renewing her photo ID, while Emmanuel, who has multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair, would have had great difficulty traveling to multiple offices for the required documentation.

    With the voter ID initiatives blocked in both states, and Elvira’s registration drive going on to register nearly 4,000 voters in her city, all of these citizens will be voting on November 6.

    “We hope that these stories of resistance and triumph inspire others to make their voices heard at the voting booth,” said Penda D. Hair, Advancement Project Co-Director. “So many individuals have been relentlessly fighting this election cycle to ensure that every eligible citizen can vote – and we encourage all Americans to exercise that fundamental right.”

    Advancement Project is a next-generation civil rights organization that works on issues of race and democracy.

    n issues of race and democracy.

     

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