Public Engagement

Students General Public

If You Can’t Vote, Then You Can’t Be Free

Monday, December 3, 2018 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium (Room N101), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center 66 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10003

If You Can’t Vote,  Then You Can’t Be Free: Racial Minority Representation & Voting Rights since Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder

Leah Aden is the Deputy Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation’s foremost racial justice and civil rights organization founded nearly 80 years ago by Thurgood Marshall. 

Leah was a member of LDF’s litigation team in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that shamefully immobilized one of the most successful federal tools under the Voting Rights Act to block voting discrimination.  She has subsequently led LDF’s efforts to ensure fair electoral methods on behalf of Black voters and challenge the implementation of discriminatory voting changes like polling place reductions and cuts to early voting opportunities in Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. 

In this talk, she will discuss the ongoing: attempts by state and local jurisdictions to restrict the voting rights of Black communities in particular, as well as Latinx, Native American, and Asian American communities; and efforts to curb new (e.g., photo ID laws) and old (e.g., manipulative redistricting) forms of racial discrimination in and outside of the courts.

Sponsored by the ULEC course: "Fair Representation: Gerrymandering the Political Process" and the Lang Office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice.

Event Type

Lectures and Panel Discussions


Students, General Public


Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts


Social Justice

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