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NAACP gearing up for Stand for Freedom march

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 12/8/2011, 1:28 p.m.

A number of people are slated to participate this Saturday in the Stand for Freedom march planned by the NAACP. Protesters hope to bring awareness to aggressive voting laws around the nation that the civil rights group says eliminates votes by people of color. After holding a demonstration at the offices of the Koch brothers, the group plans to march to the United Nations in recognition of Human Rights Day.

According to the Stand for Freedom campaign, this year, two-thirds of state legislatures have introduced laws that undermine the right to vote. Early voting and Sunday voting are also under attack, photo ID requirements will introduce the first financial and document barrier to voting since the poll tax, and racially-motivated bans on ex-felons are proposed. The new laws could wipe out tens of thousands of voters.

Critics say that the practice is similar to Jim Crow-era procedures that forced Blacks in the Southern United States out of the voting process.

"It is truly disheartening to see that nearly 50 years after the passage of landmark civil rights legislation, our nation has not fully embraced the idea of change and equality," said New York State NAACP Conference President Hazel Dukes. "The enactment of these state election laws is a reflection of a troubled past that we are forced to relive and will only continue to impede the progress of America and its people."

On Saturday, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., demonstrators will assemble at 61st Street and Madison Avenue at the Koch brothers' offices then march to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 47th Street and Second Avenue, to gather for a rally across from the United Nations at 12:30 p.m.