This Sunday, August 29, marks the 58th anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The historic event served as the catalyst that pushed for the Voting Rights Act in 1965, a bill that helped protect communities of color from racial discrimination and voter suppression. 100 organizations joined together at the National Mall in Washington D.C. to both celebrate the groundbreaking piece of legislation and demonstrate against Republicans who continue to push back against the bill by implementing restrictions across the U.S.
Arndrea King, the wife of Martin Luther King III spearheaded the massive march with the help of her Drum Major Institute initiative. The campaign is calling for elected officials to get rid of the Jim Crow Filibuster and pass three essential bills that would put an end to widespread voter suppression for good: The For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, Elle Magazine reported.
The Democrats proposed For The People Act would help to expand early and absentee voting while mandating states offer mail-in ballots and same-day voter registration. However, many lawmakers are urging for the Senate to pass The John Lewis bill which is named after the former Georgia Congressman who passed away earlier this year. According to the Brennan Center’s website, the historic bill would help to restore some of the key elements within the legislation that have been weakened during 2013’s Supreme Court decision Shelby County V. Holder.
“We cannot be ignored,” Arndrea King told Elle. “Black women, we’ve always been bold and unapologetic. We’ve always been the soul of the nation, of the movement. It’s our moment.” King added that she hopes to register 2 million voters by midterm elections.” But even with registering voters, we have to have federal voter rights protection,” she continued.
“That was the inheritance bought in blood from the civil rights movement—even going back to the women’s suffrage movement, back to when Black men were given the right to vote on paper 151 years ago. Too much is at stake in the future. Too much has happened for us to no longer have voting rights. Voting rights should be a birthright in this country.”
Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter Yolanda Renee King in addition to a number of Black female activists were also in attendance during the march.
“As a Black girl, it feels like my voice, my mom’s voice, and the voices of all the Black women in my life, have been silenced with this new restrictive Voting Rights Act,” expressed Yolanda. “So on Saturday, we want to say, ‘We’re not just going to sit there and let you walk over our back.’ Then eventually, politicians will say, “With all the emails we’ve gotten, with all the demonstrations we’ve been seeing, they really want this [new] Voting Rights Act passed.”