March on for Voting Rights Credit: Cheriss May photo

Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King and Yolanda Renee King, alongside dozens of national and grassroots organizations representing millions of voters nationwide, are mobilizing on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to restore and expand voting rights to honor Dr. King’s legacy.

The actions will call on President Joe Biden and the Senate to urgently pass federal voting rights legislation, including the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and ensure the Jim Crow filibuster doesn’t stand in the way.

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“President Biden and Congress used their political muscle to deliver a vital infrastructure deal, and now we are calling on them to do the same to restore the very voting rights protections my father and countless other civil rights leaders bled to secure,” said Martin Luther King III, Chairman of the Drum Major Institute. “Like those who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, we will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father’s dream for a more equal and just America.”

The mobilizations will begin in Arizona on January 15, Dr. King’s birthday, where Martin Luther King III’s family and local groups will rally supporters across Phoenix, in alignment with the Arizona Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee. Actions will culminate in D.C. on January 17, where the family and hundreds more will cross the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge and join the annual D.C. Peace Walk: Change Happens with Good Hope and a Dream

Groups organizing and supporting these actions include The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The National Urban League, National Action Network, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, SEIU, MoveOn, Demos, Center for Popular Democracy, Voto Latino, Declaration for American Democracy, League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Coalition for Peace, Faith in Public Life, When We All Vote, March For Our Lives, Indivisible, Bend the Arc, African American Christian Clergy Coalition, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, CASE Action Fund, UNITE Here Local 11, Our Voice Our Vote Arizona, Poligon Education Fund, The TransLatin@ Coalition, Common Defense and more

The MLK Day mobilizations follow a year of coordinated attacks on the voting rights of Black and Brown communities. In 2021 alone, Republican state legislatures introduced over 400 anti-voting bills and enacted 33. These suppressive bills — which were introduced and passed after Black and Brown voters showed up in record numbers to deliver Democrats a governing trifecta — close polling centers, purge voter rolls, eliminate early voting, and gerrymander Black and Brown voters into predominantly white districts.

“On the historic day of service to commemorate my father-in-law and continue his work, we will join our voices together to call for no celebration without meaningful voting rights legislation,” said Arndrea Waters King, Activist and President of the Drum Major Institute. “Voting is an essential part of our democracy’s infrastructure, and we cannot afford for it to crumble any further. President Biden and Congress must fight for the voting rights of Black and Brown Americans the same way they fought for our bridges — with every ounce of power their office provides.”

Voters across the country are invited to support the call for voting rights legislation by joining mobilizations in Phoenix and D.C., signing the “Deliver for Voting Rights” MoveOn petition, contributing to Give Us the Ballot to support grassroots voting organizers in your community, sharing support on social media using the hashtag #DeliverForVotingRights and calling their Senator to demand action.

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