Man holding sign
  • Nearly 100 Ohioans across race, place, and income rallied at the Statehouse Saturday to keep up the fight for fair maps
  • The OOC rally included national and statewide faith leaders, young Ohioans, formerly incarcerated people and their families, and voting rights advocates 
  • The coalition urged Black, brown, young, and formerly incarcerated Ohioans to vote during the midterms to fight back against political extremism in Ohio

On Saturday, August 6, on the 57th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, a multiracial coalition led by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC) joined together outside the Ohio Statehouse to protect Ohioans’ freedom to vote and keep up the fight for fair district maps. The nearly 100+ person rally included faith leaders, college students, formerly incarcerated Ohioans and their families, and voting rights advocates from all over Ohio. View the livestream here.

Faced with historically low turnout during Ohio’s second primary last week, advocates urged Black, brown, and underserved Ohioans to vote in the midterms to stem the tide of extremist political gerrymandering in Ohio and elect the best officials to represent their communities:

“It’s not about Republicans or Democrats: it’s about who’s going to help us. There are thousands of women and men who are hoping to get out [of prison], and we have the power to do that. Our votes matter. Even though there are barriers after getting out of prison, you can still do something about it, because you have the right to vote,” said Terry Mason, a Building Freedom Ohio member who was incarcerated for 30 years and recently released from prison.

“Our leaders no longer believe in accurate representation. The political system that we currently have is poisoned with extremist politicians and gerrymandered maps. Unfair maps affect everyone, no matter their background, sexual orientation, or race. This has been shown in the attacks on our reproductive rights and the LGBTQIA+ community,” said TiAja Perry, a Central State University student and Ohio Student Association democracy fellow.   

“Our rights have been taken away – rights that our ancestors have fought and died for. They built this nation. People don’t realize that this nation was built on the back of slaves, poor people, and indigenous people. We must believe that we are the heart of America,” said Tom Roberts, Ohio State Conference NAACP president.

“It’s no surprise that voter turnout in Ohio was as low as it was on Tuesday – the lowest it’s been since the 1960s. Because confusion and uncertainty have reigned since the controversial redistricting process that forced voters to have to go to the polls twice in order to have their voices heard. Voters voted for fair maps in 2015 and 2018 so we could have policies to protect our families, ensure excellent schools and safe neighborhoods, and make sure we can make the best decisions about our bodies,” said Petee Talley, Ohio Unity Coalition convenor.  

“We are here to demand that Congress pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. We will not be silent until they pass this act. We will not be silent until they stop trying to suppress our vote. We will not be silent until they stop telling women what they can or can’t do. Black and brown folks will not be silent,” said Andre Washington, A. Philip Randolph Institute state president. 

“Everywhere I go from now until Election Day, I will reference the powerful work I saw here in Ohio. Thank you Ohio, for showing us how to do it. Your work today is critical. Today, you're making a bold statement for our democracy,” said Rev. Alvin Hering, Faith In Action national executive director.