“We are coming together at symbolic bridges. We’re hoping that it will be replicated across the country to really bring home the point of the symbolism of bridges in the Black community,” King told theGrio.
Biden indicated on Wednesday that he understands the immediacy of passing voting rights legislation, even signaling that he would push back on championing his Build Back Better plan to 2022 in order to get it done.
“No celebration without legislation,” King III said in a statement according to CNN, adding: “Just as they voted for a bill to deal with infrastructure, bridges, and all of the things that go along with infrastructure we are now saying use that same effort, that same focus, to pass the John Lewis bill and the Freedom to Vote Act.”
Both pieces of legislation have continued to be jammed by Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats have so far refused to change the rules requiring 60 votes for bills to move forward. The Senate is currently split at 50-50.
Meanwhile, at least 19 states have enacted 33 laws to disenfranchise American citizens. And the GOP is laying the groundwork as we speak for more voting restrictions and blocks to the ballot in next year’s legislative sessions.
The Brennan Center found that the presidential election in 2020 had the highest voter turnout in over a century despite efforts to sabotage the process with the bogus “Big Lie” and other misinformation.
The King family will be joined in their protest by over 75 groups, including National Action Network, National Urban League, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, SEIU, and MoveOn.
King’s family and supporters will rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Jan. 15, King’s birthday, "to restore and expand voting rights to honor Dr. King's legacy."
In July, the Supreme Court allowed for Arizona to restrict how ballots are cast, limiting the ability of Black and brown people to challenge state laws they deem discriminatory. This upholds two provisions: one says in-person ballots cast at the wrong precinct on Election Day must be wholly discarded. Another restricts a practice known as "ballot collection," requiring that only family caregivers, mail carriers, and election officials can deliver another person’s ballot.
On Jan. 17, the federal holiday commemorating MLK, the family and other activists will march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C. They also plan to march across a bridge in Phoenix to draw contrast to the famed 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for voting rights for Black Americans.
The protests are efforts to pressure Biden and the Senate pass these critical voting rights laws and to "ensure the Jim Crow filibuster doesn't stand in the way."
Arndrea Waters King says there’s no better way to celebrate the lauded civil rights leader than standing for voting rights.
"If we're really talking about celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., voting rights was a cornerstone of his legacy," she told CNN, adding that "we cannot simply in good faith celebrate him or celebrate that legacy with this current attack on access to the ballot box."
In an interview with SiriusXM recently, Vice President Kamala Harris said she believed the “most critical battle” before us is “to protect the integrity of the right to vote.”
“We’ve got to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and we’ve got to pass the Freedom to Vote Act because we need the tools to be able to fight against what these states are trying to do,” she stated.
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