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Voting should always be free, fair, and accessible

‘Our vote is our voice. And once we lose that, we’ve lost everything.’

Moné Holder began her activism growing up in Brooklyn, New York, in a mostly Black, low-income neighborhood where she understood early on that anything deserved required a fight.

“As a Black woman,” Holder says, “knowing the obstacles and challenges that took place for Black people to vote, for women to vote, just really lights a fire under me.”

After interning with the Florida Legislature, Holder joined Florida Rising, at the time known as Florida New Majority, in 2011 and is currently senior director of advocacy. Her organization is focused on expanding democracy, making sure folks are informed, engaged, and can actually cast their ballots.

In April 2021, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law SB90, a bill that makes it harder for Floridians to vote. However, in March, a federal judge struck down the law saying it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act, as well as the First and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The ruling included a provision that requires preclearance for 10 years, meaning any restrictive legislation related to the issues raised by SB90 would have to first be cleared by the court.

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“To have that victory, where we know at least in Florida for the next 10 years our folks can be protected in some way, is huge,” Holder says.

The ruling gave her hope knowing that some court or judge can actually see the voter-suppression tactics being implemented and respond to declare, ‘No, this is wrong,’” she says.

Beyond legislative and legal victories, Holder finds inspiration in her children and the next generation, the people for whom she’s paving a way just as her forebears did for her.

“We need all partners alongside us in this fight because our vote is our voice,” Holder says. “And once we lose that, we’ve lost everything.”

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