WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s family was in the Nation’s Capital to honor his legacy on the holiday that pays tribute to him. Rather than spending the day celebrating a day off work, the family rallied for voting rights and called on Congress and President Joe Biden to pass legislation currently being held up by the filibuster.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi joined the family for the Deliver for Voting Rights press conference. She said, “We have to get this done, and the truth is that our colleagues House and Senate, Democrat and Republican, must weigh the equities here.”
It is no surprise that Speaker Pelosi is supporting the voting rights legislation, called the Freedom to Vote, John R. Lewis Act. The House has already passed the legislation, and although Democrats support it in the Senate, a filibuster now stands in the way of a vote. Martin Luther King III, the son of MLK, Jr., said, “With the filibuster, a single senator can prevent a single bill from coming up to debate just by sending an email. They can stop it from being debated, let alone voted on.”
In the meantime, without the legislation, laws that go against the bill are being proposed and passed. Arndrea Waters King, the daughter-in-law of MLK, Jr., explained that the country had seen this many times since Jan. 6. “In that time, more than 400 pieces of legislation have been proposed, and 19 states have passed laws that restrict the right to vote.” Her husband added, “These laws are being passed with knifelike precision to cut Black and brown voters out of the process, and they are exactly what the Voting Rights Act once protected against.”
In honoring his father’s legacy, King brings awareness, fighting for what he believes is right and not giving up until the work is done. He said in closing, “We must keep the pressure on and say no more empty words. Don’t tell us what you believe in. Show us with your vote.”
As Congress returns from the holiday weekend, all eyes will be on them to see what happens with the filibuster and the Freedom to Vote, John R. Lewis Act.