King Family and Activists Plan Marches to Pressure Democrats on Voting Rights
Prominent backers of stalled voting rights legislation plan a blitz emphasizing the urgent need to counter new state restrictions.
Frustrated with President Biden and congressional Democrats for failing to enact voting rights legislation this year, progressive advocacy groups and descendants of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are planning to use the January holiday commemorating the civil rights leader’s birth to call for more aggressive efforts to overcome Republican opposition.
With two measures stalled on Capitol Hill, members of the King family, backed by dozens of liberal organizations, say they will take their campaign to protect voting rights on the road, holding a series of marches to promote the urgency of the issue beginning Jan. 15 in Phoenix and ending two days later in Washington, D.C., on the official holiday.
They hope to spur action, after months of stalemate in Congress, to offset new voting restrictions being imposed around the country by Republican-led legislatures. And they plan to press their case for killing the filibuster — the maneuver Republicans are using to thwart action in the Senate — condemning it as a tool for perpetuating racist policies.
With the winter holiday recess rapidly approaching, a handful of Senate Democrats scrambled on Wednesday to devise a plan for bringing the voting bills to the floor for a year-end push, but the outlook was uncertain as they toiled to build support for a change in the chamber’s rules that could move the legislation past a Republican blockade.
The planned marches are the most vivid sign yet of activists’ growing dismay with the White House and top Democrats about the party’s inability to move forward on the voting rights bills. Some involved in the fight say they see no clear strategy for success, and argue that Democrats have moved too slowly even as they have pressed hard to break through Republican obstruction on other issues.
“We are calling for no celebration without voting rights legislation,” said Martin Luther King III, the son of Dr. King, who is taking a lead role in organizing the events along with his wife, Arndrea Waters King.
Read the full article in the New York Times.