Although a lifetime has passed since Martin Luther King Jr. famously delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington, activists today are still working to make equal rights a reality on the 58th anniversary.
According to HuffPost, nationwide protests will commemorate the historic event by compelling Senate Democrats to take action on two major bills to protect voting rights. The historic 1963 demonstration is credited with pushing the country towards historic political victories like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Icons like Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, Gloria Richardson, and a young John Lewis led the charge at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Today’s March On For Voting Rights will feature Martin Luther King III, Andrea Waters King, and Rev. Al Sharpton. In addition to Washington, D.C., more than 40 cities have demonstrations planned, including Atlanta, Houston, Miami, and Phoenix, where state legislators are pushing for laws that would drag America’s political progress back to the Jim Crow era. In the wake of Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, GOP politicians across the country have been working overtime to restrict mail-in ballots, voter ID requirements, early voting, and other policies that protect marginalized communities’ access and rights to vote.
Despite the pandemic, thousands are marching to demand that Democrat leadership prioritizes the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. These two bills are key pieces of legislation for protecting and expanding voting rights from oppressive opposition that looks disturbingly similar to what Martin Luther King faced. The Senate and House are also under pressure for leaving the rent moratorium vulnerable to get overturned by the Supreme Court yesterday while both bodies are in recess. The rights and livelihoods of millions of Americans hang in the balance and today, the voice of the people is loudly demanding action from leadership.