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The Evanston North Shore branch of the NAACP held a candlelight vigil in Fountain Square Tuesday evening as part of a national effort to promote the group’s legislative goals.

The NAACP’s 860-mile Journey for Justice walk from Selma, Ala., to Washington, D.C., which started Aug. 1, ends today with lobbying efforts in Congress for legislation on a variety of issues including establishing national standards for police use of force, expanding federal efforts to provide higher quality education, expanding job creation and training programs, increasing the minimum wage and restoring and strengthening the Voting Rights Act.

George Mitchell, Evanston NAACP branch president, speaks at the vigil.

The event was also sponsored by the Evanston chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Bloody Sunday civil rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in which peaceful machers were attached by police. That event and a subsequent march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., were instrumental in leading to the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year.

The Evanston City Council Tuesday night adopted a resolution supporting legislation, backed by U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky of Evanston, that would strengthen federal oversight of state voter rules, an aspect of the Voting Rights Act that was weakened by a Supreme Court decision in 2013.

A companion bill, also supported by the City Council, would modernize voter registration, promote access to voting for people with disabilities and protect the ability of individuals to exercise their right to vote.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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