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MLK Jr. Committee Hosting Town Hall Forum on Voting Rights and Race

The Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara invites the community to participate in a town hall forum on the topics of voting rights and race in the nation and in our community, from 7 to 9 p.m. this Thursday, May 22, at the Louise Lowry Davis Community Center.

The event, titled "Unfinished Democracy: Race, Money, Voting Rights in the Nation and in the Community,” is free and open to the public.

It is part of the committee's theme for this year, "Lift Every Voice," designed to help raise the cultural competency of our community on the issue of participation of all citizens in the democratic process.

The featured speaker, Dr. Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval, Ph,D., will discuss Supreme Court rulings in recent years that impact access to voting for minority and marginalized communities and the full realization of democracy in America. The Office of the Santa Barbara County Clerk Recorder and Registrar of Voters will also participate.

Dr. Armbruster-Sandoval, a professor of Chicano Studies at UCSB, will explore the idea that while it has become more democratic through social movement and activism, America has never really been a democracy. He argues that the electorate, historically, has been very narrow and, only over time, have! (women and minorities) become more involved in the process of voting.

Much of this involvement is the result of the social action during the 1960s. Recent Supreme Court rulings regarding the Voting Rights Act and their decision in the "Citizens United" case directly contribute to the erosion of voter participation in both national and local elections, especially among minority voters.

The community is invited for an informative presentation followed by a interactive exploration of how these issues impact us on the local level and how we view the need for social action to insure our right to participate in the electoral process.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara has as its mission as follows: to foster positive relationships between the many diverse groups in the Santa Barbara Community and the surrounding areas; to sponsor programs and events which exemplify the teachings of Dr. King; to observe and celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. This event has been made possible in part by a grant from The Fund for Santa Barbara.

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