Wicomico County has a long and disgraceful history of discrimination against Black residents, evident in pervasive segregation, overt racial polarization throughout the community, and unequal access to education, employment, housing, and government services based on race.
Against the backdrop of this history and its continuing legacy, the Defendants’ election practices and structure work in concert with patterns of racial polarization in voting to empower Wicomico’s white majority to override and dilute the influence of Black voters, suppress Black candidacies, and deny Black residents equal opportunity to elect their chosen representatives.
Defendants’ longstanding maintenance of this racially dilutive system has denied Plaintiffs their rights to vote free from discrimination and to fair representation in their government over the course of decades.
Video by Nehemiah Bester.
00:00 – 00:19
Several Black voters and local organizations have joined to file suit today in Federal District Court. Together, they ask the court to declare the current election system unlawful and require the County and School Board to create a fair system that complies with the Voting Rights Act.
00:19 – 00:34
We're here because this is a long time coming. We're here because for a long time Wicomico County has told, has shown, and has been an example of white supremacy for years, and we're tired.
00:34 – 00:45
We are demanding equity, we are demanding justice. We are demanding fairness, we are demanding the seats, seats at the table that we deserve.
00:45 – 00:57
Because right now there is only one seat in District One in Wicomico County. That is the only seat where a person who looks like me has a chance of winning. That is only one seat that is, statistically speaking that doesn't make sense.
57:40 – 01:11
Dr. Eddie Boyd
What I would ask of the School Board and the County Council is not to spend one dime, any money, any resources fighting against this suit. We just ask that you would do the right thing.
01:11 – 01:24
Rev. Dr. Lewis Watson
We want our children and grandchildren not to go through what we're going through today, having to stand here to demand that which is right. We want them to know that as they go to vote, that their vote means something.
01:24 – 01:47
Rev. James Jones
We want to see things done decently and in order. But we will not, we will not be excluded in the decision making by political structures not to have a voice for what goes on in our communities and our businesses, in our churches, in our schools.
01:47 – 01:50
Rev. James Jones
We as a people will make a difference. God bless you all.