Martin Luther King the third, Arndrea Waters King, Yolanda Renee King and more then 180 deliver for voting rights partner organizations honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day with action by calling on the Senate to eliminate the filibuster and pass federal voting rights legislation. Hundreds gathered in D.C. for events to deliver a clear message to President Biden and the Senate: you delivered for bridges, now deliver for voting rights. As the Senate prepares to vote on legislation Tuesday, thousands more joined the call nationwide with mobilizations in cities across the country.
In Washington D.C., Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty, Rep. Terri Sewell, and hundreds of D.C. residents delivered their message to the President and Senate during a march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. The march was organized in partnership with the MLK Holiday Committee as part of the organization’s annual D.C. Peace Walk: Change Happens with good hope and a dream.
Following the bridge crossing, Martin Luther King III and his family hosted a press conference at another example of our nation’s commitment to infrastructure, Washington D.C.’s Union Station. There, speakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urged the Senate not to pay lip service to Dr. King’s vision without protecting and expanding his voting rights legacy. During the press conference (viewable online at deliver-forvotingrights.com), the Kings, Pelosi, Beatty, Sewell and more leaders spoke about the urgency to eliminate the filibuster to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.
MLK Day actions in D.C. fol- lowed a rally in Phoenix, Ariz., on Jan. 15, Dr. King’s birthday, where Martin Luther King III and his family, as well as Rep. Mondaire Jones, Rep. Ruben Gallego, State Rep. Reginald Bolding and hundreds of Arizonans marched to call on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to stand on the right side of history. The day’s events began with a rally outside Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church, fol- lowed by a march across the 16th St. overpass bridge.
The MLK Day mobilizations fol- low a year of coordinated attacks on the voting rights of Black and Brown communities. In 2021 alone, Republican state legislatures introduced more than 400 anti-voting bills and enacted 34. These suppressive bills close polling centers, purge voter rolls, eliminate early voting, and gerrymander Black and Brown voters into predominantly white districts. Additionally, the Supreme Court’s decision in Brnovich v. DNC further gutted the Voting Rights Act, a bill Dr. King played an instrumental role in passing. Federal voting rights legislation will help overturn these Jim Crow era state bills and put key protections in place.
Nation Honors Dr. King By Calling On Senate To Pass Voting Rights Act
In December, the husband-and- wife duo launched the Deliver for Voting Rights Campaign to escalate the pressure on the President and Senate to legislate, not celebrate on MLK Day. Following the campaign launch, more than 180 national and grassroots organizations representing millions of voters nationwide joined the effort, and more than 800 faith leaders from across denominations issued a letter co-signed by the Kings to the President and Congress. The campaign effectuated a series of actions from elected officials. Soon after the campaign launched, Senate Majority Leader Schumer issued a Letter to Colleagues setting MLK Day as the deadline for rules reform debate and consideration. Over the last week, President Biden delivered a historic speech in Georgia supporting filibuster reform, Senate Majority Leader Schumer announced a procedural plan to move the vote forward, and the House of Representatives, thanks to Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, passed the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. Now on Tuesday, Jan. 18, the Senate will vote on the federal voting rights bill and decide history.