MLK III Vows No Celebration On MLK Day If President, Congress Fail To Pass Voting Rights Legislation

Activists are planning a series of demonstrations on the civil rights icon’s birthday celebration instead of the traditional celebration.

Martin Luther King III on Wednesday (Dec. 15) invited supporters to join him on Jan. 17 in urging Congress and the White House to end the filibuster rule that’s blocking the passage of voting rights legislation.

That date has great significance. Jan. 17 is the federal holiday that recognizes the legacy of his father, the iconic civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. In his social media post, King called for a day of action.

“No celebration without legislation,” King tweeted. “On January 17, join me to honor my father and the #MLKLegacy as we call on Congress and the White House to eliminate the Jim Crow filibuster and pass voting rights to protect millions of Black and Brown voters. “

King posted the video below.

Voting rights activists have called on President Biden and the Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which is aimed at fighting voter suppression and restoring enforcement provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Also on the table is the Freedom to Vote Act, which would remove barriers to voting, including allowing all voters to request mail-in ballots.

In November, supporters of the John Lewis Act blasted Senate Republicans who blocked the measure in a 50-49 tally of the procedural vote on whether to open debate on the legislation. It’s nearly impossible to move the bill past the filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes to advance most legislation.

To advance in the Senate, several Republicans must cross party lines and vote with Democrats for the voting rights bills to pass. At the same time, Democrats must also win the support of conservative Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.

"President Biden and Congress used their political muscle to deliver a vital infrastructure deal, and now we are calling on them to do the same to restore the very voting rights protections my father and countless other civil rights leaders bled to secure,"  King said in a statement Wednesday, according to CNN.

More than 80 groups planned to participate in the MLK weekend events, including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Action Network and The National Urban League.

RELATED: Senate GOP Rejection of John Lewis Voting Rights Act Leaves Democratic Lawmakers Infuriated

RELATED: National Black Voter Day 2021: Advocates For Voting Rights Push Back Against Republican-Led Attacks

On Jan. 15, MLK’s actual birthday, a rally is scheduled in Phoenix to mobilize Arizona residents to demonstrate against state legislation that activists say is intended to suppress voting rights. In July, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld two sections of the law, ruling that they don’t violate the Voting Rights Act provision against racial discrimination.

Two days later, activists plan to march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C. and a bridge in Phoenix in commemoration of the iconic 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., for voting rights.

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