Today marks one year since a mob of insurrectionists attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election through a violent breach of the U.S. Capitol.

In recognition of this anniversary, the leaders of the nation’s top legacy civil rights organizations released the following joint statement:

“One year ago, the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol laid bare the perilous state of our democracy. As shocking as it was, the act of domestic terrorism perpetrated on January 6, 2021 was the latest escalation of a long-running struggle in this country between those who believe in a multiracial democracy and those who would use force to install a system of authoritarian white supremacy instead.

“Indeed, it is not incidental that this attempted coup occurred after both an election that featured historic levels of turnout from Black and Brown voters — despite widely documented voter suppression efforts designed to keep Black communities, and other communities of color, from accessing the ballot without obstacle and without fear of violence and intimidation — and an unprecedented effort from then-President Donald Trump to not only lie about the election, but also to enlist extremist groups in his campaign to thwart a peaceful transfer of power.

“In the time since this infamous day in U.S. history, the threats to our democracy have continued unabated. A combined wave of state voter suppression laws — targeting voting methods used to ensure that voters, particularly Black voters, are able to exercise their rights unabated — new laws designed to diminish the independence of election administration, the widespread intimidation of election workers and election officials, and the ongoing gerrymandering of electoral maps have placed the future of our democracy in extreme peril.

“The 2022 primary election season begins in just two months. The urgency for immediate action cannot be overstated. It is critical that Congress take whatever steps are necessary to immediately pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act to secure the right to vote and uphold the integrity of our electoral system. We also call upon the Biden Administration to use all of its power and leadership to help advance this critical legislation. Time is running out. The Senate must act now to remove the threat of the filibuster and immediately pass this essential voting rights legislation for the preservation of our democracy.”

  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill
  • National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial
  • NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Interim President and CEO Wade Henderson
  • National Action Network President and Founder Reverend Al Sharpton
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law President and Executive Director Damon Hewitt
  • National Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Black Women’s Roundtable President and CEO Melanie Campbell
  • National Council of Negro Women Executive Director Janice Mathis

Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.