Good work and good trouble: the time for voting rights is now

Eiley Fong

January 14, 2022 | Racial Equity, Other

Many Americans get a day off work on Monday, January 17, to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy. Celebrations often manifest in doing good work like community service and helping others. These acts of service are important and remind us to ask: how are we going to truly uphold Dr. King’s legacy, his life’s work, and what he fought for?

Civil rights leader and former member of Congress John Lewis often mentioned causing “good trouble.” Well this is a moment for good trouble and in our eyes it’s a moment to advance voting rights — one of the key rights that Dr. King fought and died for. In order to make voting rights happen in Congress, the National Partnership is partnering with the King family and other civil rights and social justice organizations to take action and Deliver for Voting Rights.

In this partnership, we are calling for passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act; both would secure protections for all voters and prevent states from further creating more barriers to the ballot. In 2020 alone, 19 Republican states (Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming) passed a total of 33 anti-voter laws that restricted voting-eligible populations from accessing the ballot and their right to vote.

Earlier this week, President Biden traveled to Atlanta, GA to give a speech on the importance of amending the filibuster and moving voting legislation forward to prevent a further loss of civil rights. A large number of voters backed a President and a Congress that promised to deliver protections around the right to vote — protections that still have not been secured. The filibuster has caused important legislation to stall in the Senate. Good trouble and good work are in their hands.

This weekend the coalition will continue to call on Congress to take action by participating in local actions in D.C. and in Phoenix, AZ between January 15-17. Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King, and Yolanda Renee King will join elected officials, voting rights advocates, and community advocates. Below are some ways to engage with the continued fight for voting protections:

  • Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, January 15, in coordination with the Arizona Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee. Attendees are called to gather at S 15th Street & E. Jefferson Street, near Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, for the pre-Bridge Walk program. The Bridge Walk will end in East Lake Park with a speaker and music program.
  • Washington, D.C. on Monday, January 17, in coordination with the DC MLK Holiday Committee. Attendees are called to gather at Potomac Ave (between First St. SE and S Capitol St. SE). They will then march toward Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge and assemble for a press conference on the bridge. The Peace Walk will continue to Ambassador Baptist Church, 1412 Minnesota Ave SE, Washington, DC 20020.
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