82nd U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. interviewed by Chicago's anchor Robin Robinson on his recent book, The Unfinished March.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. urged public and corrective action to protect our nation’s voting rights and our nation’s democracy. 
On Thursday, October 13, 2022, 200 of Chicago’s civic and business leaders attended a book event at Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel co-hosted by Ariel Investments Chairman, Co-CEO, and Chief Investment Officer John W. Rogers, Jr. and The HistoryMakers Founder & President Julieanna Richardson.
Rogers provided a warm welcome: “Eric has done countless things to move our country forward, both as our longest-serving attorney general, and in private practice.” He also acknowledged the attendance of State Attorney General Kwame Raoul; State Treasurer Michael Frerichs; former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun; and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker among others.  Thanking Rogers, Richardson also welcomed Holder and his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone and told of her sister Vivian Malone who helped integrate the University of Alabama in 1963. In introducing Holder, Richardson spoke of Holder’s genuine love for the United States: “You committed yourself to protecting the right to vote as fundamental to our democracy …you have rightfully called it ‘The Unfinished March’.” 
Robin Robinson then took to the podium and introduced the students, faculty, and administrators from Southland College Prep Charter High School. They included Dr. Yvonne Williams, Erica Bartley, and Robert Lane, faculty and administrators who had assigned and led discussions on Holder's book and key periods in our nation's voting rights history with students in advance of the program. Southland’s Dorian Davis, Yehoshua McClerkin, and Hailey Love read passages from passages from The Unfinished March in front of an audience that sat in rapt attention.

Many in attendance took notes or nodded in agreement as Holder told of how our nation initially only granted voting rights to the landed white gentry, leaving African Americans out of the voting mainstream until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, described by Holder as a watershed moment. Then came the devastating effects of the 2013 Shelby County vs. Holder decision that effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act, opening the floodgates for voter suppression, closing 1700 polling places, striking voters from the rolls with purge rates as high as 40% affecting communities of color.
With expert questioning from Robinson, Holder opined about the Trump administration and its devastating impact to our political system. He told of the importance of state and local politics and the urgency with which everyone needs to act: "There's a debt that we owe to people who sacrificed for us. Yelling at the television or using social media is simply not enough."

Holder exhorted the audience to individually reflect on the ways they are or can be civically engaged within their community. Voting is one way, but he offered other suggestions that included attending town halls, running for office, volunteering and more. He also encouraged the youth in attendance to research candidates the same way they prepare for a class.

Holder concluded by sharing his hope that 100 years from now, civilization will look back and say that the people of today saved democracy. Holder shared, "I believe that only because I people in you all. I believe in us. "

The Violent Past and Imperiled Future of the Vote-A History, a Crisis, a Plan
OUR UNFINISHED MARCH: The Violent Past and Imperiled Future of the VoteA History, a Crisis, a Plan by Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General and current chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and New York Times bestselling author Sam Koppelman, presents a chronicle of the brutal, bloody, and at times hopeful history of the vote; a frontlines account of how opponents are fighting to take it away; and a powerful playbook for how we can save our democracy before it’s too late.

Eric Holder is a civil rights leader who is chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. He served as the eighty-second attorney general of the United States, the first African American to hold that office. Now a senior counsel at Covington & Burling, he lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone. The couple have three children.

Sam Koppelman is a New York Times bestselling author who served as director of surrogate speechwriting on the Biden-Harris campaign. A graduate of Harvard College, he is now a principal at Fenway Strategies, where he has spent half a decade telling the stories of people working to make the world a better place.

The HistoryMakers has honored both John W. Rogers, Jr. and The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. in PBS-TV programs. Check them out!
A Night With John Rogers
October 2, 2010
The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
An Evening With Eric Holder
October 15, 2016
The George Washington University
Washington, D.C.
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