MLK III on President Biden Voting Rights Speech: “He can’t rest this call at the feet of the Senate and walk away”

Arndrea Waters King: “Will [Senators] stand with my father-in-law and all those who fought and died to make real the promise of democracy for all Americans? Or, will they resurrect the shame of Bull Connor, George Wallace and all those who stood in the way?”

President Biden: “Don’t celebrate [MLK’s] birthday unless you’re willing to support what he lived for and what he died for.”

Atlanta, GA – Today, Martin Luther King III and Arndrea Waters King met with President Biden in Georgia and attended his speech on voting rights legislation. The visit comes only days before MLK Day voting rights mobilizations commence in Arizona and D.C., where Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King and over 150 partner organizations will collectively call on the Senate and the White House to deliver for voting rights, like they delivered for bridges. 

Civil rights leader and Drum Major Institute Chairman Martin Luther King III made the following statement: 

“Today, in the hallowed birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, President Biden echoed our call for honoring my father’s legacy — there should be no celebration of the King holiday without voting rights legislation.

President Biden was clear in his call for eliminating the filibuster to pass voting rights, and we’re grateful he has taken this bold step to support the change that we need. But he can’t rest this call at the feet of the Senate and walk away — he must use the full power of his office to ensure this Jim Crow relic finally falls.

The president cited his pedigree of dealmaking to pass voting rights legislation as a senator — we know he has the power and influence to do the same today. When we met with the president today, we reiterated that we expect strong action, not just words. We need to see a plan. We will be watching closely, and mobilizing to ensure his speech is backed by the full power and influence of his office.”

Civil rights leader and Drum Major Institute President Arndrea Waters King made the following statement: 

“President Biden framed the choice that faces Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema, and the Senate Republicans: will they stand with my father-in-law and all those who fought and died to make real the promise of democracy for all Americans? Or, will they resurrect the shame of Bull Connor, George Wallace and all those who stood in the way? 

We are grateful that the President took a clear stance: the filibuster cannot stand in the way of voting rights. Rules reform is the only way the Senate can actualize his closing call to action, “let’s get this done.” 

Last year, we saw President Biden’s attention and action on infrastructure — he held hundreds of meetings with Congress, including working with Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema, to get that legislation over the line. We need to see him exercise the same power and influence for our democracy. 

We won’t be satisfied until the president signs both the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act into law. We are hopeful to see him heed our call and begin putting his full force behind the legislation now. But we intend to hold him accountable until we see him deliver for voting rights.”

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