Panel in North Minneapolis will discuss expanding access on 50th anniversary of Voting Rights Act

Further expansion of voting rights and elimination of barriers will be discussed Thursday by a panel in North Minneapolis.

The meeting is called “Stay Restless: A Community Gathering on the Voting Rights Act 50 Years Later.” It’s sponsored by Secretary of State Steve Simon and his Council to Celebrate the Voting Rights Act.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the act on Aug. 6, 1965.

Organizers say the event’s goal is to “highlight today’s struggle to expand voter rights and reduce barriers for all eligible Minnesotans.” It’s at 5:30 p.m. at Harrison Neighborhood Association, 503 Irving Av. N.

Simon will moderate with panelists Mai Thor, a disability advocate; Sarah Walker, a voter rights restoration advocate; Natasha Moore, a student at the University of Minnesota; and Stephanie Cobenais, a Band Member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.

Also planned are performances on the struggles to reduce barriers and expand access to voting, reflections from the audience interpreted through improv from The Theater of Public Policy and a call to action to vote and to be engaged in community efforts.

Those performances, emceed by Javier Morillo, will “highlight the importance of voting and the struggles faced by African-Americans and other communities of color, voting rights for people with disabilities, and stories from the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing communities.”

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