Bend the Arc hosting voting rights event

The Jewish social action nonprofit Bend the Arc is partnering with the Andrew Goldman Foundation in calling on Congress to reinstate a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

They are hosting an event from 12:15 to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24 outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building, 1301 Clay St., Oakland.

In part, the event will be a vigil in commemoration of the murders 50 years ago of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner. They were killed by the Ku Klux Klan after traveling in Mississippi in 1964 to help register black voters. Yarzheit candles will be lit to remember them. Goodman and Schwerner were Jewish.

Additionally, the vigil is meant to raise awareness around the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down a requirement that certain states, mostly in the South, get advance approval from federal officials before making any changes to their voting systems. A hearing before a key Senate committee is scheduled for Wednesday, June 25.

In a joint press release, Bend the Arc and David Goodman, Andrew’s brother, wrote that “voting rights are once again in peril: States are passing new rules making it more difficult for the young, elderly, poor, and people of color to vote.”

The list of scheduled speakers at the Oakland event includes Rabbi Michael Rothbaum of Congregation Beth Chaim in Danville and Cantor Sharon Bernstein of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco.

The vigil is one of many being held across the country. The plan is to light one yahrzeit candle for every signature obtained in an online petition at Attendees are asked to RSVP by Monday, June 23 to Susan Lubeck at For more information, visit or call (415) 248-0085.