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Know Your Rights

Every American should enjoy equal rights without discrimination based on race. It's critical that we understand the laws, court system, and the judges that determine those rights. Learn about the bedrock laws and structures that shape our everyday lives.

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Voting rights

Voting is fundamental to U.S. democracy, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a bedrock law protecting every American's right to register to vote and cast their ballot. The Voting Rights Act remains one of the hardest-fought safeguards for Black Americans and other minority groups. Yet today, threats to fair, safe elections persist. Attempts to restore the Act to its fullest protections include the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, introduced in early 2019.

President Johnson

We've repeatedly seen attempts to delegitimize democracy by trying to disenfranchise voters, specifically Black voters. Once again, if the NAACP must intervene to protect our community, we will do so swiftly and assuredly.

- Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO

The 411 on the Five-O

While we must support effective law enforcement, we must also exercise our constitutional rights to ensure law enforcement works as it should – to protect all Americans regardless of race or ethnicity. This guide offers helpful suggestions on how to interact with law enforcement to reduce the probability of conflict.

Understanding the federal courts

Federal courts decide disputes involving the U.S. Constitution, federal laws, disputes between states, and other important cases. The work of federal courts, from the district courts up to the U.S. Supreme Court, can have wide-ranging implications for social justice. That's because federal courts have the final say on issues that affect the lives of every American, including basic civil rights, religious freedoms, voting rights, and affirmative action.

More on federal courts

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The role of judges

Courts have historically been one of the main avenues for promoting and protecting the civil rights of all Americans. That's why we must ensure that the men and women appointed and confirmed to the federal bench — who serve lifetime appointments — are committed to equity and justice, rather than an extremist agenda.  

More on the role of judges
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Since the Supreme Court first convened in 1790, 113 justices have served on the bench. Of those, 107 have been white men.

- CNN, 2018
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