Ever since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed, due to the advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and countless other civil rights activists, Republicans have been chipping away at the right to vote. The ongoing battle for voting rights has been passed down to generations and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter is proudly continuing her family’s legacy.
Yolanda Renee King, 13, is the only granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and the daughter of Martin Luther King III and Andrea Waters King.
In a recent interview with ABC News, the eighth grader said, "I do consider myself an activist. Anyone who uses their platform for good, that's what activism is all about."
King, along with her father, was arrested outside of the White House for obstructing traffic with more than 50 protesters during a voting rights demonstration on Nov. 3.
The arrest did not deter King, "We are planning to come back, especially after what we saw from Congress [on Wednesday] They blocked these bills again and it's really frustrating. It's sad and disappointing that we are still facing the same issues that we did 58 years ago.”
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King also added, "We really need to make more progress. And while I think about how much of an honor it is for me to be doing what my grandfather and family did, it's concerning that we're battling the same issues that they did."
A huge blow to voting rights was 2014’s Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. The ruling stated Congress can redraw the map used to determine which areas of the country must get pre-clearance from the Justice Department before making changes to voting laws and procedures.
Additionally, just last month, Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote to open debate on the Freedom to Vote Act, which was intended to protect voters from assaults on voting rights and improve the campaign finance system. The bill didn’t have the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.
King is determined to keep pushing and often reflects on her family’s legacy, telling ABC News, "I would say it was around fourth grade when I really understood the significance of my grandparents' work. That's when it really clicked for me. Many people don't understand, my grandfather did not just make a change in the United States, but he really changed the world."
"Even now, I'm learning stuff every day and I find myself asking questions when looking at some of their demonstrations and how they were beaten," she added. "Would I have done that? Would I have been brave enough to do that because that takes a lot of courage? And so I think and say, 'Wow, they had a lot of perseverance.'"
See more of Yolanda Renee King on voting rights in the video below: