NAACP, National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Brennan Center for Justice and More Join MLK Day Mobilizations for Voting Rights Legislation
150 National and Grassroots Groups Will Join Martin Luther King III and his Family on MLK Day Weekend to Send Clear Message to President Biden and Congress: “You Delivered for Bridges, Now Deliver for Voting Rights”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King and Yolanda Renee King, announced over fifty new MLK Day mobilization partners, including NAACP, The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Brennan Center for Justice, Fighting For Our Vote, and more. These leading organizations join The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The National Urban League, National Action Network, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Voto Latino, SEIU, MoveOn, Demos, Working Families Party, Sierra Club, African American Christian Clergy Coalition and over 100 more national and grassroots groups mobilizing their millions of voters to demand the Senate commemorate MLK Day by restoring and expanding the right to vote.
This announcement comes days after Senate Majority Leader Schumer announced that by or before MLK Day, the Senate will debate and consider rules reform in order to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The MLK Day will amplify pressure on the Senate to act with mobilizations in Phoenix, Arizona on January 15, Dr. King’s birthday, and culminate in D.C. on January 17, where Martin Luther King III and thousands more will cross the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge and join the annual D.C. Peace Walk: Change Happens with Good Hope and a Dream.
Please find the full list of partners here and commentary below:
“Anything short of passing voting rights protections would be the most destructive act imaginable for democracy.” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “We will not be able to out-organize voter suppression. The American people and their sacred right to vote are being systemically silenced. It is undemocratic, un-American and unacceptable. Congress, get it done. We don’t have much time left.”
“As educators, we teach all students – no matter their race or ZIP code – that voting is a sacred right that we must protect for all Americans. We know that our public schools are more than places of learning – they are the foundation of our democracy. And we see how our students are not only witnesses to the relentless attacks on voting rights nationwide – oftentimes they are targeted by the restrictive voting rights laws that make it harder for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and young Americans to vote,” said Becky Pringle, President of the National Education Association. “This year, as we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., we must redouble our efforts to make his dream into our reality by making progress on the unfinished efforts to ensure America lives up to the ‘true meaning of its creed,’ as he stated in his I Have a Dream speech. This creed being, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Central to making this dream a reality is Congress passing legislation ensuring every eligible voter can make their voice heard by casting their ballots safely and freely, while also preventing partisan politicians from sabotaging the results of our elections.”
“The right to vote is as sacred as it is essential to a functioning democracy. A true democracy ensures those eligible to vote have access to exercise their vote—to pick the folks who represent us—and that their vote is counted and the result respected,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “Many Black Americans and women in particular have struggled and sacrificed for this right, including Dr. King. There could be no better way to honor his work and the work of countless others than for the Senate to consider and pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. History will judge this moment: whether the struggle for justice, freedom and democracy succeeded or failed.”
“The right to vote is the foundational principle of Democracy and the very premise of who we are as Americans. Despite this, communities of color have been forced to protest, bleed, and die for this right since it was guaranteed to us by the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution,” said Reverend Leah Daughtry, Campaign Manager for Fighting For Our Vote. “Our country is at a crossroads. We can reform antiquated Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation, or we can allow anti-voter forces to permanently silence our communities. The time is now to secure our constitutional right as Americans to make our voices heard.”
“Our democracy and our nation face an existential threat in the form of unyielding attacks on the freedom to vote. We must turn the tide before it’s too late,” said Mini Timmaraju, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “It is time for the Senate to find a way forward on critical voting protections. Together, we can and must safeguard our democracy and fight back against those, including anti-choice extremists hell-bent on maintaining power and control, who are trying to sabotage our elections and break our democracy.”
“This moment demands action. The Brennan Center for Justice is proud to join Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King, Yolanda Renee King, and leading civil rights and voting rights organizations to tell the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, now,” said Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law. “We’re seeing a wave of new laws to make it harder to vote, laws that target communities of color and other underrepresented groups. This is wrong. Dr. King, Congressman John Lewis, and so many sacrificed for the idea that democracy requires strong national action, that the struggle for racial justice and the American ideal demands strong protection from our Congress. As in his day, there can be no hesitation.”
“I believe there is no better way to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday than for the U.S. Senate to do their job and pass federal voting rights reform and end the filibuster to reverse the onslaught of new voter suppression laws that were passed in 2021,” said Melanie L. Campbell, NCBCP President and CEO and Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable. “Further, the hyper-partisan gerrymandering taking place in states is a threat to our democracy. Today, we stand in solidarity with The King Family and our civil rights and social justice allies, in a call to action for the U. S. Senate to act immediately and the White House to elevate and use all its power and influence to remove the obstacles to passing federal voting rights legislation now.”