Speakers discuss voter suppression in MLK Day commemoration ceremony – The Collegian – The Collegian – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was placed in the Peace Garden on Jan. 18, 1998. (Courtesy of Brianna White)

President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and other keynote speakers addressed racial equity and the impact of voter suppression in current times during the Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration ceremony on Jan. 19.

Fresno State African American Programs and Services held its commemoration ceremony virtually a few days following Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17 because of growing concerns regarding the omicron variant. 

Several speakers noted the importance of remembering King’s legacy now more than ever. 

Throughout the commemoration ceremony were performances from Fresno State’s former gospel choir professor Asia Smith and a poem reading by Fresno State student Diymond Walker.

As the first speaker of the event, Jiménez-Sandoval said that to truly honor King’s legacy, it begins with recognizing what he fought for and how “we must have that difficult conversation about racial equity.” 

He spoke about the impacts of Shelby County v. Holder, which “removed voting rights protections afforded by the 1965 Voting Rights Act.” The outcomes of the case led to a flurry of voter intimidation strategies and methods of restricting absentee ballots, according to Jiménez-Sandoval.

The Supreme Court case se

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