More than one hundred endured the smoke while supporting the March On for Voting Rights rally at the California State Capitol building on Saturday.
Organizers canceled the march from Crocker Park due to the poor air quality.
Among the speakers at the rally was the candidate for Sacramento County District Attorney, Alana Mathews.
The issue of voting rights is about “who deserves the power” to make laws, Mathews said.
“That power begins and ends with the power to vote,” Mathews said.
Mathews said all people, from Black Americans to immigrants to LGBTQ and poor Americans, deserve the power to change the government structures and systems that have not served “all of us people.”
“Our vote is our power to elect leaders who will prioritize equity and fight to create clean, healthy and safe communities,” Mathews said.
Forty-eight states have introduced 389 voter suppression laws since January, designed to make voting more difficult, according to Mathews.
“These efforts threaten Democracy, our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Mathews said.
She said not only does everyone deserve to vote for their leaders but also deserve to be the elected leaders.
“That’s why a little Black girl from Gary Indiana … sat down on her couch in the summer of last year and decided, I’m going to run for Sacramento County District Attorney,” Mathews said.
Sajid Khan, running for Santa Clara District Attorney, said he is running to be the necessary change in the criminal justice system.
Kahn said the DA had not brought any charges against the police in San Jose, who have killed 20 people in the last five years.
“Seventeen of which we’re our brothers and sisters, people of color,” Khan said.
Khan said the district attorney’s with a conviction at all cost mentality discriminate racially every day in courtrooms.
“They get away with it because they use coded language,” Khan said.
Khan and Mathews would be the first people of color to be District Attorney in their respective counties if elected.
Marches were held nationwide by leaders such as Martin Luther King III, Alejandro Chavez and Reverend Al Sharpton.
Sacramento was one of more than 85 cities that marched and was the only city in California that participated.
Director of Paul Cuffee Abolitionist Center Max Parthas flew from South Carolina to speak about voting rights, other racially motivated laws and the importance of ACA.
ACA 3, known as the California Abolition Act, would amend the Constitution of California to end involuntary servitude in California.
“Most states have their exception clause in their Constitutions that say slavery is abolished except if you’re a criminal,” Parthas said.
Convict leasing began with the introduction of the Thirteenth Amendment after the Civil War, according to Parthas.
“We’ve been practicing slavery legally in everybody’s faces since 1865,” Parthas said.
African Americans' lives were criminalized through vagrancy laws, Mississippi Black code and pig laws according to Parthas.
“If you didn’t have a dollar in your pocket you could go to jail,” Parthas said. “If you looked at a white woman wrong you could go to jail. And if a white man you’ve never met asked you for two dollars and you didn’t have it, you would go to jail.”
This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.