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CAMPAIGN FOR VOTING RIGHTS - NEWS CONFERENCE 1225-END
01/17/2022
ABC
DCU091607
VOTING RIGHTS CAMPAIGN PRESSER POOL 8 FS-28-HD 20220117 1225 CNN POOL The Deliver for Voting Rights campain holds a press conference at Union Station, led by Martin Luther King III and Arndrea Waters King, among others. ARNDREA WATERS KING> and splinters and boards torn up and places with no carpet on the floor, bare. But all the time climbing on and reaching landings and turning corners and sometimes going in the dark, where there is no light. So why don't you turn back? Don't you sit down on those steps? Because you can find it's kind of hard. Don't you fall now? Bronze still in honey? I'm still climbing and life for me a thin no crystal stair [12:25:30] as in that whole life for many black and brown Americans has been no crystal stair. And we will not allow our elected officials to add to the tax and splinters while we climb. As my father in law Dr. King told those young people that day you have a responsibility to seek to make your nation a better nation wish to live and to seek to make life better for everyone. He ARDS them to seek beauty and truth. If he were here today, he would look our leaders in the eye and challenge them with those same words. History hinges on the choices they will make [12:26:12] the tones of democracy ring louder than division, freedom and justice for all. And no matter what it looks like no matter how tired we may be, we will not give up. We will not give out. We will not get in. Whether this bill is passed tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. And we already know what the end will be. because God weighs in on all this well, And until all this is not the end. Thank you very much. [12:26:56] >> Thank you, Mrs. King. Now we're going to hear from Martin Luther King the third as the oldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King. The third is a leader on the world stage, a peacemaker and negotiator and on some of today's most critical issues. nationally and internationally, including voting rights. Most recently, Mr. King has taken over the leadership of the drum major Institute, with the focus on continuing the king legacy through campaigns like give us the ballot. The work of the drum major Institute inspires and supports organizations and individuals to embrace their unique contribution to peace, justice and equity from alongside his wife Mr. Kane is one of the CO leaders deliver for voting rights. campaign that gathers here today, Mr. King. [12:28:02] MARTIN LUTHER KING III>> Good afternoon I too would like to thank so many who have embarked upon this journey with us today as we observe the King holiday my father would have been on Saturday 93 years old. First, let me thank Speaker Pelosi for her tireless commitment on behalf of black and brown Americans as well as Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Congresswoman Beatty, and also Congresswoman Carrie souls from the state of Alabama for constantly fighting for that which is right. [12:28:41] And I want to thank every part over 180 organizations that joined us over 1000 asters Every major labor union has joined in this quest for voting rights. But I want to thank every partner who made it today, the feast Walton on the organizers of the peaceful who understood the importance not just of the day, but of this moment. Thank you to all of you who are joining us here today and especially you as members of the American media helping to get the word out to American people. [12:29:21] My mom always said a holiday. She should be they are not today. 122930 Today we're not here to celebrate. We're here to be on. We're here to call on President Biden and the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote John R. Lewis Act and to warn that our democracy stands on the brink of serious trouble without these bills. Last week, the President said he's tired of being quiet about voting rights. Well, we're tired of being patient. [12:30:02] Since January 6th 2021, when the insurrection this attack, our capital 90 legislatures have passed 34 laws clawing back voting rights for their citizens. States like my home state where new laws I should say of Georgia aren't designed to confuse voters so they don't know where to go. They kick people off the voter rolls so they show up to vote and find out they're not because polling stations and voting hours so working parents and folks without access to transportation can't get there and these laws are being passed with knifelike precision to cut black and brown borders are in the process. [12:30:49] And they are exactly what the Voting Rights Act was protected against. That's just one state but it's all over Texas, Florida, Iowa, Arizona. The list goes on. More legislatures are gearing up to pass laws like these when they could be this year. And Senate is letting them get away with it. because of a little technicality. called the filibuster. [12:31:15] This is why people say the Senate is broken. But it gets worse. The thought of this was used to start some rights legislation for 100 years after the Civil War. I think about the history books tell you that after the Civil War, people who had been enslaved for 250 years, we're finally free. [12:31:53] But that's not the truth. They had to fight for 100 more years before they could overcome the filibuster just to have their right to vote protected. And now filibuster is being weaponized again. The irony is that all these laws take taken away our rights are being passed by a simple majority. Wow here in Washington, therefore to reinstate them has to get a super majority to pass. [12:32:23] The good news is that we have the power to address the injustice. We can eliminate filibuster with a simple majority in the past this feeling that every Democratic senator says they support but as you've heard a few people stand in the way not just Republicans. Every one of them has taken a role position against voters. But that's not who I'm talking about two Democrats. two senators, Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Sinema, who said they support the bill, but refused to eliminate filibustered pass. [12:33:04] They think the real problem isn't that our rights are being stolen. They think the real problem is a disease of division that can be cured with some optimism and conversation. Now my father worked to bring people together in his town, but he was no Pollyanna. His speech down to America, he talked about how some people were pushing back on civil rights, because like these two senators, they thought the problem couldn't be solved with legislation. They told him he had to change hearts first. [12:33:39] And he worked hard. After all, he was a Baptist preacher. But he knew that when someone is denying you have your fundamental rights, conversation and optimism won't get you very far. He said although it may be true, that mo will wrap morality can't be legislated behavior can be regulated. 123402 Even though it might be true, he said, that the law cannot change the heart. It can restrain the heartless. Even though it may be true that the law cannot make a man love me. It can restrain him from lynching me. So let me be clear when states are engaging in lawless voter suppression, only the law can stop them. Senator Sinema and Manchin also say, if they bill - if the bill doesn't get bipartisan support, it shouldn't pass. 123433 Well, the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenships to slaves in the - 1868, that didn't have bipartisan support, should formerly enslaved people have been denied citizenship, Senator Sinema? [12:34:47] Some of the some of the 15th amendment that gave formally slate the right to vote in 1870. [12:34:54] bipartisan support should former slaves had been denied the right to vote some of the mansion in 1922 23 and 24 some some of the School of Boston and anti allergy bill that it passed in the House, which Senate imagine and some of the some some have supported blocking those bills too. I'm just applying their logic here and showing that it's not logical at all. [12:35:26] To them the filibuster is sacred except for one. In 2010, Senator Sullivan was supported the idea of using reconciliation get around the filibuster and passed health care reform. Just last month, they both supported an exception to the filibuster to raise the debt ceiling, but they draw the line at protecting the rights of millions of voters. History will not remember them. In April 1963, my father was jailed in Birmingham for protesting segregation [12:36:00] While there he wrote an open letter, in which he said the biggest stumbling block was not the Ku Klux Klan. But the white man who is more devoted toward the Justice who prefers a negative piece, which is the absence of attention to a positive piece, which is the presence of justice, who constantly says I agree with you at the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods or direct direction. Who paternalistically feels he can set a timetable for another man's freedom. [12:36:37] He was surrounded by people who told him to wait until a more convenient time and to use more agreeable methods 59 years later, it's the same old song the dance from some of the matches and some but not let up. And he's more than 180 partners over 1000 faith leaders and millions nationwide to make this whole possible. You are the reason President Biden spoke out last week and is swinging for the fences. [12:37:14] You're the reason Speaker Pelosi has brought about powerful legislation and every procedural solution possible to protect black and brown Americans. You have a reason leader Schumer set a deadline and is bringing the bill to a vote tomorrow. Organized organizing works protesting works, and we cannot let up now. So no matter what happens tomorrow, we must keep the pressure and say oh empty words. Don't tell us what you believe in show us with your votes. [12:37:48] history will be watching what happens tomorrow. black and brown Americans will be watching what happens tomorrow. in 50 years. students will read about what happens tomorrow and know whether our leaders have the integrity to do the right thing. Mr. President senator, senators, imagine, Senator, some members of the Senate have the freedom to vote jar, our Lewis act now. If you can deliver an infrastructure bill for bridges, you can deliver voting rights for Americans. If you do not. There is no bridge in this nation that can hold the weight of that failure. [12:38:28] Thank you. And now I have the great honor of introducing the leaders who believed in this fight from the beginning and who stood by the side of black and brown Americans on voting rights. Speaker Pelosi has used her position of leadership to push from every angle to get voter rights bills passed, and we would not be where we are today without her commitment. To our democracy. Representative Joyce Beatty, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus has been instrumental in passing voting rights legislation in the House and getting us to this point in the fight [12:29:13] represented a teary soul has been a pillar in the voting rights fight and leaving the house to deliver for voting rights chairs what they delivered for bridges. Because of the leadership of these women, the House passed this crucial legislation to protect our democracy and action. Now rest with the Senate. First please join me in welcoming the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Honorable Nancy Pelosi. [12:39:49] HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI PELOSI>> What an honor it is, personally and officially to be here for the family are Martin Luther King, Jr. and Curtis King. To hear your lawn to speak about the future. And what this all means to young people how proud her grandparents are. And to hear Andrea talk about what is at stake in all of this couldn't be more clear. And Martin, thank you for the chance that you had put forward is my honor awesome to be here. Without the leadership of the House. [12:40:27] The leader of that congressional black caucus made for us working with Eric Holder and and John Sarbanes, and others. Mr. Clyburn, to make sure this legislation, the freedom Vote Act was passed. And Terri Sewell has been the author of the John Lewis voting rights either before it was called. She stood for it for years, and advocating relentlessly and you will hear from them. [12:40:56] And we just say that to what the family had to say about the history and the prospects, let's just say and Congress, we'd say I associated myself with remarks. And I just want to add this because I was always wanting to take family from school and all respect I was at the March. I couldn't stay to speech and I had to leave go get married. [12:41:23] So I can always remember how long ago this speech was for how long go out at the very beginning, that King Curtis King, and those who were associated with include our beloved John Lewis, they believed in non violence they traveled the kings to India to study the Mahatma Gandhi principle of non violence. The word for non violence in Sanskrit, satyagraha has two meanings. One is non violence, the other is insistence on the truth. [12:42:03] That's the message they shared with them brought back in and we are insisting on the truth. The truth is, that what is happening in the constant inquiry credit, what kind of Leader Chuck Schumer for his relentless and persistence and trying to get this done to the President for his leadership, but we have to get this done. And the truth is that our college house, Democrats and Republicans must weigh the equities here. [12:42:38] While it may be true to them, that the filibuster is an important customer. It is not the Constitution of the United States that chooses and the truth is that the Constitution says only if you're ratifying the treaty, conducting an impatient person, or ratifying the constitution, a simple majority. That's why the vice president can break a tie 5050 So the truth is, we want all of them in the Senate to weigh the equities. 124315 We all want bipartisanship. We all strive for it, we have a responsibility to do so. But when we cannot have it, we cannot confine our democracy to what might be bipartisan, the possible(?) So I asked our colleagues in the Senate, respectfully for what they think the filibuster means, to compare that to weigh the equities against our democracy, because nothing less is at stake than our democracy. This is about suppressing the vote. It's about nullifying the elections, which Dr King talked about that day, nullifying the election. It's about just doing so many things to be obstacles to participation. That's wrong. The truth is, that's wrong. [12:44:03] And this family I John Lewis, so beautifully that this build is named for him. The first bill, he wrote the first 300 pages of what is now called freedom to vote. And as has been indicated by the King family these This bill is supported by all of the Democrats in house and senate. It's just the filibuster in a way. 124431 So in a way, if you really truly want to honor Dr. King, don't dishonor him by using a congressional custom as an excuse for protecting our democracy. [12:44:45] We have no right to honor this family to visit the monument. Imagine 30 somewhere 36 years old, left this earth tucked away that he has a monument on the ball along with Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson tears in their eyes with a departure from our democracy. [12:45:17] That it's happening right now. Unless that to the specific college and this legislation is passed. I've already yield to our distinct am I introducing our Distinguished Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Working with her has been a joy because she has been so consistent she brings her own record of civil rights experience to the to the Congress and to the subject, as does our distinguished Mr. Clyburn. Without her leadership and her persistence, we would not have passed that first bill [12:45:53] for the people, which is now called freedom without honors to serve with her as well as with Terry civil. We are just so determined to make this happen tomorrow, and nobody more determined that the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Joyce of Ohio. BEATTY>> thank you so much, Madam Speaker, and thank you for your leadership. It is an honor for me to be here today. For me to be the chairwoman of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus [12:46:32] To the King family, thank you, Bart. Adria Yolanda for the piece that we just did. For keeping the dream alive and for delivered for voting rights. To you I say thank you, but today we come to flees the opportunities for justice that lay before us now, because we cannot redeem the soul of America without the courage to fight the barriers of cultural systemic environmental racism. [12:47:08] And every turn. We must remind America that we have the right the right for education, the right for childcare, housing, economic and social justice, but what it is all born out of the writing. That is why connecting people public policy and politics, fighting for justice and civil rights for all. That is why I march with this fan. [12:47:43] That is why I say thank you for giving us your mind and your voice that represents our future. the late John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Reverend Al Sharpton, Tamika Mallory, and so many more Jesse Jackson. But let me just say the day that arched with the spirit of Fannie Lou Hamer is I crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. [12:48:20] That is why I was arrested recently in the United States for demanding the protection for voting rights. I stay in the family or shelters. I stand on the shoulders of surely kids on Coretta Scott King Rosa Parks and Dorothy and Yolanda. You and my two grandchildren Leah and Spencer, the new generation and you're doing it your way. But let me say to you, you stay on our foundation. [12:48:53] Together, we must tear down the walls of injustice against voting rights, insists that the Senate has the freedom to vote John or Louis voting rights because silence is not an option. The congressional black caucus has called for the vote demanding the Senate to take immediate action on voting rights legislation. We will not yield our efforts to enshrine voting rights legislation into law, nor will we allow a filibuster to filibuster away our democracy and our voting rights. [12:49:33] Today we are speaking to a pained and frustrated nation. But tomorrow and the days to come. We will witness the Senate to call but let me say this loudly and clearly. We must draw the line in the sand of justice for any member that standing with us on voting rights. They are obstructionists to America's promise of freedom and justice and we will stand against them. [12:50:09] The nation must join us and make some noise. Your father and grandfather say lightning makes no noise. No strikes Well, America today let's make some noise to this nation. Let's stand up in strike back, fight back fight for our voting rights. Lastly, the Congressional Black Caucus conscience of the Congress. I want this year that we stay with you. We stand with your father's dream. We stand with your courageous leadership Speaker Pelosi because you [12:50:56] want the nation to the house, pass the Voting Rights Act. And so now America, That's our power. That's our message for the Congressional Black Caucus. and in case you didn't know, I thought it was small enjoys dating and I approve this message. God bless you. Now it gives me great honor and distinction to introduce a person who needs no introduction. I call her the mother of Alabama. She is one who has landmass with the late John Lewis across the Edmund Pettus. Bridge. She is author of voting rights. And it is my privilege to call her a friend, a proud member of the Congressional Black Caucus, a leader that honorable Congresswoman Terri Sewell [12:51:57] SEWELL>> I'm Congresswoman Terri Sewell and I proudly represent Alabama's seventh congressional district. It includes the historic cities of Birmingham, Montgomery and yes, my hometown of Selma, Alabama. You see, voting rights is very personal. To me. So many senators, so many legislators and the King family join us year after year to walk across that bridge to commemorate what happened they are on Bloody Sunday. And to say no more. No more. [12:52:32] We are once again at a precipice and inflection point, if you will. While we no longer have to count how many marbles are in a jar or recite backwards. The declaration is today's my voting suppression is less pernicious long lines, purging of roles. The list goes on and on. Today as we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy. It can't be a celebration as Yolanda said, [12:53:15] because we need legislation. We need the Senate to do its job almost six decades ago, John Lewis and the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement March and yes bled on a bridge for the equal rights of all Americans to vote. Their efforts culminated in the passage of the new 65 voting rights and voting rights was never part of until recently. The Voting Rights bill passed by time for we authorization under four Republican presidents. But now we're having a problem. A problem of the filibuster. [12:53:57] I agree with my colleagues. I agree with the King family. We cannot let a process stand in the way of process oh, by the way, that over 150 times have been set aside and most recently, but we can raise the debt ceiling to protect the full faith and credit of the American government surely, surely we can pass the John Robert voting rights Advancement Act and the freedom to vote act to protect our democracy. [12:54:34] I know people hire and frustrated and we can be tired and we can be frustrated. But what we can't do is give up just what John Lewis if he had given up those marchers marching across that bridge, if they had been bludgeoned on that bridge and deeper trying to go back for turnaround Tuesday, or ultimately to complete that much. didn't give up. They didn't give out. Think of Rosa Parks on a bus. [12:55:04] Had she not given up what our lives would have been. It was because of her courage because of her sacrifice that we now have integration into public transit, interstate transportation, and commerce. So I say let us remember the words of Coretta Scott King. She was profound and prophetic. When she said struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never be one you have and when it is each generation, so this is our mountain moment. [12:55:46] Will we give up, give out or will we keep pressing forward? Forward? I want to say in closing it's never lost on me that I get to represent my home district, my hometown of Selma, Alabama. My job each and every day is not only to represent the people, wonderful people of Alabama's seventh congressional district today, but it's also to protect and further the legacy the legacy of Selma of Baton Rouge of Birmingham and I will not give up and I will not give up. [12:56:32] It was King, Dr. Martin Luther King. If you cannot run then walk if you can't walk. We must keep moving forward. Let's move forward together and demand that the Senate passed the freedom to vote Act and the John Robert Lewis Advancement Act. Let's do it. And let's do it now. Thank you. [12:57:08] >> today we just like to thank Pelosi hometown Elia. And that entire King family for your leadership, there is no celebration without legislation. We will continue our program. [12:57:39] Now have this excuse me this morning the King family DC organizers, voting rights advocate cross the Frederick Douglass bridge, a new landmark of access that our next speaker was instrumental in bringing to life She also played a critical role in fighting for voting rights and DC statehood. I'd like to welcome my mayor the DC mayor, Mayor Muriel Bowser. [12:58:15] BOWSER>> Good afternoon, everybody. So the King family to our honorable members of the Congress of the United States and to my fellow Americans. Good afternoon. I want to thank you for gathering today Speaker Pelosi course in our beautiful Washington DC to honor the birthday and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. We of course know that Dr. King praise an integral role in desegregating America and helping us to get the Civil Rights Act. [12:58:52] We cannot think of a better way to honor his legacy than to speak up to take a stand and to take action to ensure that Americans nationwide have their voices heard and counted across the nation. We know that states are passing anti democratic anti voting bills, restricting the will of the people by the slimmest margins. I like most Americans find myself wondering what Dr. King would make up this moment we find ourselves in. [12:59:31] It is a moment sadly that we're all too familiar with. What would he say about the inaction on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which has already been ready for over a year? We know what he would say because he fought that fight his entire life. What would he say about a filibuster that stands in the way of protecting the most basic of American rights? Now what he would say because he winning this fight 60 years ago, [13:00:04] this spy a fight for fundamental rights as Americans, the fight to make true the ideals of our democracy. We know today that is enough is enough. As President Biden said last month, we are standing at an inflection point in our democracy. Do we accept minority rule? Do we give up the dream of democracy in America? Do we give up on the idea of forming a more perfect union? Do we stand back and allow the minority to dig its heels to preserve a system and ideals that are relics of the past? [13:00:46] And we say together, we can't and we won't. And I came here today to make sure that no one forgets about Washington DC. Because we cannot talk about voting rights without talking about the disenfranchisement of 700,000 taxpaying Americans right here in Washington DC, a legacy of slavery and Jim Crow America. [13:01:14] Today we're talking about the filibuster, but consider this. We wouldn't even be in this situation. In Washington DC had two senators, the two senators we deserve because you know what Washington DC stands with the majority of our fellow Americans who are in favor of expanding and protecting the right to vote. So they'll forget now he does the filibuster routinely silence the will of the majority, the will of much of the majority isn't even fully represented, and the plight of Washington DC is the same place that millions more Americans could find themselves in. If we don't pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. [13:02:00] Cut out from the democratic process and treated as second class citizens. You will be expected to pay taxes you will be expected to serve in the military and you will be expected to follow the rules set by the Congress. Dr. King was unapologetic in his fight for racial justice, social justice and economic justice. We cannot advance our democracy or build stronger communities if Americans do not have a say when decisions are being made and how funds are being distributed. So we're speaking up for voting rights, but also speaking up for the 700,000 people here in their own Congress. Thank you. [13:03:00] >> So we are honored today to have a lot of our partners here. So first, I'd like to bring up the Mario Cooper who is the co chair of the Center for popular democracy. The Mario is an Ohio based grassroots organizer with deep roots in both racial justice and electorial campaigning at the local level, state and national level to Mario. [13:03:30] >> said my name is Mario. I'm from Akron, Ohio. I drove here last night in my car because I didn't want to get stuck in the airport. It was a tough drive you know some of it was like a lot of storms like actual winter storm and other parts are smooth but I drove out here this morning to a I was like, I don't think I'm gonna go to the March because I'm tired. [13:04:05] There's something was like tomorrow to get up and go to this March. Right? So I get up. I go to Mars, almost miss it. And then I end up in the back of the line when I get to the March. Right when we got to the Frederick Douglass bridge, if y'all was there, the sun came. came out. It came out for that moment. And when we left that bridge the sun went away. If he was if he was there, that's what really happened. As soon as he got to the front of that bridge. The sun came up [13:04:43] and it hadn't begun. Now here I am. On a bridge, Frederick Douglass bridge renovated because before if you know that prison look like that. That was a little tiny, tiny bridge. It was old and dilapidated looking now this beautiful is restored and we are standing on that bridge. And I was thinking about bridges organized by train. bridges have a real strong history of my family's legacy of bridges. My great grandfather was killed on the bridge trying to go vote in Newport, Tennessee [13:05:24] and I think I was thinking about my grandfather on that parade. I was thinking about Martin Luther King, marching and that it bends towards justice. Here I am as a co director, but one of the largest grassroots networks in America. On Martin Luther King Day, the day before we need to pass the Voting Rights Act. My people, a diverse group of people known as an Oregon [12:06:00] I've talked a lot about bridges. Bridges, like people need to move across the bridge in order for us to go from a private life to a public. We're talking about people moving across bridges to go from saying of individual filling oppression of the society to a collective dignity. We're others who are struggling with the same things, right. We talked about bridges all the time. We talked about moving people from nothing was happening to us to moving into collective power. Working together, building together being a relationship together. Organizer by trade. [12:06:39] We need to move over bridges. Frederick Douglass moved over and breathe. People know originally he decided that no matter where he wanted to be an enslaved person that he was going to be a free person. He made a decision. A decision point in the history of that man's life made us have a person who taught us all their power is nothing without a demand. It never has never will. He learned that he's crossing bridges this day, where first of all, I do want to give them to family. I want to give thanks to your grandfather Your father has helped my life and all black people in this country. Thanks for the answer to the people who came and fought for us to have this freedom for me to stand in front of Nancy Pelosi [13:07:26] and the senators having from from the projects that happen with single mind that's where I come from. I worried about being scared but some already on the dignity side they make a choice and ever say about the history of the Voting Rights rack and the filibuster. filibuster has been used to continue racial oppression. but today we got to make a trust and I'm not talking to Sinema or maybe that's your job to organize. I'm talking to people. Organized I talk to people and what I want to say to people is no matter what happens tomorrow no matter what happens tomorrow, whether they do the right thing, [13:08:12] or they choose to do the wrong thing and hold up this historic arcane system of oppression. Especially right now. When we had a clap back moment. We are the clap back moment. If you are confused. Go find out what happened during Reconstruction. And we are in that moment again. He said it's long, but it bends towards justice. The force that pins that art is us. [13:08:37] Us in the most high creator is what builds that art. And we got work to do. No matter if they do their job the right way and more or not. We got work to do. The Center for popular democracy is here working with our affiliates across the nation. We are ready. We are ready to stand up but we need our people to join is that time is this time there's a lot of bridges we got a cross. It's time for us to cross the bridge from a precedent in the history of oppression in this country, to a country where everyone has the freedom to thrive. [13:09:18] The freedom to live a dignified life To not be stuck in shame and that requires us to build acquires us. I want to thank you all for giving me a second and allowing me to come speak to Jesse Elliot died on breach trying to go vote to speak to you today. I feel my ancestors And I know that it is time. I hope they do the right thing tomorrow. But if not expect to hear from our communities. [13:09:56] especially for this not to just be something that you get to do and hide behind the filibuster on legislation. We are paying attention. We will be in the streets we will protect our rights. We protect our rights and freedoms and thrive and that's all for now, thank you >> tomorrow and hate tomorrow Guess what? The sun comes out next we will hear from Kelly Robinson who is the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Kelly please join us [13:10:33] >> Good afternoon, everybody. Good afternoon. Glasses are a little fun back to hearing tomorrow. The vision is clear. Let me tell you hello, people. My name is Kelly Robinson. I'm the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund It is an honor and honor to join the king families Speaker Pelosi Congresswoman baby, Congresswoman school and all of you here today. This is my first action back after the birth of my son I say actually he's he's five months old. [13:11:10] And for me, has just changed. And I know y'all know what that means. But in so many ways, right? I mean, this world can feel so fundamentally broken with all this happening around us not only out in the world, but even in our own homes and our own families. Many of us are so worried about our kids are worried about our partners, our friends, our our everyone around us, we're consumed by it. But what's clear to me now is that we are not broken by it. Now that I've had my son I realize more than ever that we we the people that are fighting for freedom and justice. We don't have the luxury of letting a broken world breakups. [13:11:48] This crisis has once again laid bare the cracks in our democracy. But right now we have the power. We actually have the power to fix them the power to ensure that America starts to fulfill her promise to us. So that's why I'm here today. I'm here because we have the power. We've got to reaffirm it because I am here because our powers actually in our vote. It's a power to build a better life for ourselves and our families. It's a support to elect representatives who actually understand the challenges facing our communities. It is the power that we need to make our own decisions about our health care about our bodies, including the decision of whether or not to have an abortion. [13:12:28] It's the power to heal just a little bit of this broken world for ourselves, for our kids and for the legacy that we're moving forward. Your rights and reproductive rights are inextricably linked. And right now both are under attack. It's an accident or witnesses with tax withheld because access to sexual health care cannot be achieved without a finger ma cracy one that represents the will of the full stop period. And right how that is just not happening. Many people today have spoken about the voting restrictions that are harming and being put forward across our country state by state. [13:13:05] But guess what, in many of those same states, we are also seeing the past harsher and harsher abortion restrictions. And that's despite what the people want. That's despite the will of the people we know that there is a state in this country where banning abortion is possible. We know that eight in 10 Americans support access to safe and legal abortion and yet still they continue to attack our bodies and our rights. This my friends is not a coincidence. This is a part of a concerted effort by extreme politicians that cling on to power any means necessary. But guess what? We are not going to let that happen. [13:13:43] We know that we are sitting here in a crisis moment where something can change. Congress needs to use every lever at their disposal to pass laws that protect and advance our rights to vote and our rights to bodily autonomy. We Congress to step up right now and protect our voting rights by passing the John R. Lewis act, act now. We cannot let our team Senate rules be more important than our freedom the Senate has changed the rules before his Senate Republicans refused to protect our democracy, the majority to change the rule so that everyone has a freedom vote. [13:14:18] This is the moment that will determine their legacy. So we're not asking we are expecting a demanding action now. Because make no mistake though, we are in a crisis moment. If there's a silver lining about being in a crisis, it's that it's a moment of reckoning. It's a moment of transformation. It's a moment where greater change is possible moving forward than it was in the past. What an awesome opportunity for me and my friends, my family, my colleagues backstage what an awesome opportunity that we have to be a part of this change that has been generations in the making. So I have to say thank you to my little son, Isaiah. [13:14:55] Thank you to the alanda thank you to our families to our answer because you remind us to not only imagine that a better world is possible but to use all of our power to fight for that world today. So thank you, and I'm excited to get to work. >> Thank you, Kelly. Our next speaker is a fierce social justice warrior, defender of education rights, an unrelenting advocate for all students and communities of color and a value and respected voice in the education arena. I have the privilege of introducing Becky primo the president of the National Education Association Becky. [13:15:57] >> Good Afternoon, I stand here representing the 3 million members of this nation's largest labor union, the educators of the National Education Association our member chair one important goal ensuring that every student everyone has the access and opportunity and resources they need and deserve so they can boldly and completely live into their brilliance [13:16:37] for the members of the NEA. Standing up for every student means standing against any effort to dismantle the voting rights that Dr. King fought so hard to see you. I thank the king for you for bringing us here today. Speaker Pelosi representatives, baby and soul and so many others. who are leading this fight across this nation for refund and social and electoral justice that are deeply woven into Dr. King's legacy. [13:17:22] When COVID-19 began its spread across across our country almost two years ago. The deep inequities that have existed in this country for ever compounded and abortion impacted as educators, we already knew that the students who suffer from decadence the most are black, and brown. And Indigenous students are students who have been marginalized and underserved. [13:18:03] Our students from the very same communities where folks are being suppressed. My great grandfather was enslaved not far from here in Charlottesville, Virginia. It's almost impossible to comprehend that the progress we've made since then, is in jeopardy. But here we stand when 2022 that we actually set aside to honor the legacy of Dr. King, [13:18:49] calling on President Biden and vice president Harris to demand that the Senate do what's right. Do what it must to pass the freedom to vote and the John Lewis voting rights advancement acts. We will not allow Congress to set aside its responsibility to defend our democracy. Every eligible elephant must have that responsibility to cast their ballots safely and freely [13:19:35] and they must be able to do without harnessing politician. Sabotage, sabotage the results of our elections. I commit to you today that we will continue to stand against voter suppression deliberately are designed to silence our voices and to diminish the power of the American. We will work every single day grounded in Dr. King's teachings that every step towards the goal of justice. [13:20:24] We cry of sacrifice, and struggle. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is the time for vigorous action. Our collective action is the only way we will create back just society for students and our families and our communities. Our children our babies are depending on us to be worthy of them. I have no doubt that to get. Thank you. Thank you. [13:21:21] >> the president that will have one of my sister friends Melanie Campbell, who was the president and CEO of the National Coalition on black civic participation. She recently celebrated 25 years of service with the National Coalition and has served as an advisor to the US president, congressional members corporate labor and non profit executives, philanthropist favors and many other on critical issues impacting black America, Melanie. [13:22:04] >> Good afternoon thank you thank you all for your leadership. You all fall into how you all are taking and really shining the light. This needed. I'm standing here today with my talk about this person to my right, my great nephew, Jeremiah, who's 10. And he decided he wanted to get involved in the movement. And so today we're supposed to walk and he said and so I do this. I can still do this. [13:22:50] And when I heard you talk everybody did something the other day to my spirit hear you talk about our young people, our children and remind ourselves of my left. Mrs. Core masters Berry, who's always hungry at First Lady of the District of Columbia and my mentor for the 25 plus years I've been here, close one of the baddest political strategist I know I stand with the mass and the concern with me. Because at the end of the day, it's like that we're in that case. The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by human beings for breaking down injustice [13:23:33] and destroying the terrible walls which imprison people because they are different from others. And there's something about that quote, resistance staying with the looping really. It's been a rough, rough road and listen to citizens about the other day made it that much harder as a part of a civil rights meeting. The civil civil rights organization leaders with sensitive the sentiment of the day [13:24:07] and sometimes it's not what you say it's kind of how you bring it. And so the lack of sincerity about what we were clearly pleading to understand the magnitude of the moment. And we know that this vote is attack on the vote goes much deeper as this political scientist geniuses to always remind us why we here and this connection to what's happening with all of our rights being under attack. Of course, it's not about it's really Yes, we have rights, but it's something was borrowed [13:24:50] because we have to continue to ask for this vote. To protect to be reauthorized shouldn't be but we're here. We're not gonna give up. Now we don't have clubs and the houses but it's countries that are placed at a breaking point. This issue is not just about black folks voting. This is about this democracy crumbling before our very eyes. [13:25:26] I come out from a place called middle Florida Caribbean heritage, more country whose hot home before I was even the 50s. That's where we're headed back to because an element of violence in this country is escalating. We have a former president who keeps pushing it. So the American people have to stand those of us who are activists and organizers are going to keep fighting. They keep pushing. But a year from now. If we don't get this together, we're not going to recognize this demonic attack homeboy writes the attack on reproductive rights. [13:26:11] Even critical race theory is all connected because it's about us versus them. And that we the We the People will keep fighting. We will keep marching. We will keep protesting until we win those senators I know that at least tell your Republicans in your spirit. You can do the right thing on over to the right side of history to the right side of history, [13:26:47] so that Jeremiah Yolonda in the children head on board will see America as good as his ideals will see an America that will let this young man know he can walk to St Maarten he can get a car and not get shot. It's all connected. It is about justice. It is about opportunity. It is about freedom. So let's get this done America. We can get it done and challenge your senators. To do the right thing. Thank you. [13:27:29] >> Thank you, Melanie before we bring to remind press that the King family will be available for interviews when we conclude if you decide to speak with them. Next we have mana Epting, who was the executive director of the move on and leads both move on action, which works at Advanced progressive policies and social change on move on political action, which works to elect candidates who are committed to standing up for an inclusive and progressive agenda Ronna. [13:28:13] >> Thank you Ashley. It is an honor to be here with you both today. All three of you, Martin, Andrea, Yolanda. As we honor the work and legacy of your father and grandfather, thank you for having all of us and for your leadership. On behalf of the move on community, millions of us all across this country who reside every congressional district, in every state in this nation on behalf of the millions of us that mobilized and organized to get out the vote in 2020, who overcame the threat of violence and the poll, fools who overcame and organized by a global pandemic, [13:28:57] who overcame an organized despite attempted mass attempts at voter suppression. On behalf of all of us I'm here to deliver a simple message the United States Senate history is watching. History is watching whether you will stand up and safeguard our democracy and a right to vote or whether you shamelessly and cowardly hide behind the filibuster that has been used throughout history to deny our civil rights and our voting rights to our people. [13:29:30] The choice today could not be more clear or more stark we can safeguard our democracy or we can have the filibuster but we cannot have every day that Senator cinema has Senator Manchin enable the Republican filibuster. This bill is another day our democracy and our freedom to vote is under attack every day that Senator cinema and Senator Manchin side with a republican party that has been hijacked by Maga enthusiast and conspiracy theorists, is another day the force is seeking to undermine our democracy get even stronger. [13:30:12] More than 400 Anti voter bills have been proposed at the state level 419 states have already past bills that will make it harder to vote and more are eagerly awaiting on the doorstep. The forces working to suppress our vote and undermine our democratic systems are acting with extreme urgency. These are the same forces that have stood behind some of America's greatest atrocities throughout history that we've talked about today. [13:30:51] These are the same forces behind as he spread the big lie and undermine the integrity of our election system. And these are the same forces that attacked our US Capitol on January 6. And I'm sad to say today's Republican Party. We hadn't announced them in fact, they have embraced these forces. [13:31:19] I wish that wasn't the case. But that is the moment we are in. So this is not a normal time. This is not just another vote. This is not politics as usual. It cannot and it must not be politics as usual for us and for the Democrats in the US Senate. Let's be real. Joining the Republicans in blocking this bill. Or joining with Republicans to seek compromise with the very forces seeking to destroy what we are working so hard to protect against does not protect the institution of the United States Senate. [13:31:52] It furthers erosion of the entire American experiment. So Senator Manchin and Senator cinema do not tell us you support this bill simultaneously joining with the force is trying to block it. Do not tell us Do not insult us by posting quotes from the man we are here today to honor Well, actively working to undermine his working with legacy. And most importantly, do not say the filibuster is some unbreakable rule and changing it will destroy the US Senate. That is a self serving bold faced lie and everyone knows it is a distortion of our history. [13:32:35] Just last month, Senator cinema Senator Mitch enjoyed every Democratic senator to change the filibuster to pass the debt ceiling. Last month, they did the very thing they are now saying they cannot do if it was good enough for the debt ceiling is sure good enough for our voting rights. History is watching. We are watching millions of us out there that worked so hard to win in this last election so that we could finally have this moment to safeguard our democracy and protect our right to vote. We are all watching today and every day. And as I said, we can either do the right thing and protect our democracy or we can have the filibuster, but we cannot both. Thank you. [13:33:26] >> Thank you, Ron. We're gonna hear now from Latasha Brown and Cliff All right, who are the co founders of black voters manner. They work to increase power and marginalize. predominantly black communities through voter registration. And outreach, Latasha and Cliff [13:34:00] >> I was so glad earlier way more than a third spoken talk about bipartisanship and some of the pitfalls and the contradictions that underlie the positions that certain senators as well as those in the media have about bipartisanship because at the end of the day, 1957 when Dr. King spoke, and said, Give us the ballot. He did not say that and asked but thinking that one day we'd be asked to give up that ballot. Sacrifice that ballot at the altar of bipartisanship, to give up our goals at the golden calf of bipartisanship. [13:34:34] That's not what he had in mind when he said give us the ballot. And so it's important that we talk about this today, especially today because on this day of all days, it's actually insulting that you got some folks that are asking us to accept a compromise this thing called the electoral count, as if that is voting right? But that's not what we've been asking for. Quite a little bit if LBJ Elizabeth Johnson, or the Khan consoliads came to Dr. King and said, You know what, that's okay. We're not as fast as this Voting Rights Act you asked me for, but here's what we got. After they finished keeping you from registering after they finished making take literacy tests after they finished closing your polling places after they finished having you found the jellybeans this is what we got for you were made sure that the counted [13:35:25] are both said they do after that is accurate. That's what we got for you instead of voting rights. That's what we're being asked to except today I'm deaf. And that is insulting to us, just as it would have been softened. But I'm not I'm not bitter about that. I'm not bad about that. Because this is what I know that we got two things that those who are asking us to give up our rights, those that are passing most personal courses cuz we got to things that that they're not ready for. We got two things we got to love. And we got to talk to can you talk about these two things that you've reminded us that we need both of these things together? Because power without love is reckless and abusive. [13:36:02] But love without power is sentimental. And anemic. And what we know what our history shows us is when we combine those two things, we can do some mighty mighty things. And so that's we're about to do y'all. We're about to continue despite regards to what some folks might say what some pundits might say. We are going to continue this process is not over until we say it's just like the Voting Rights ban when some of it wasn't over until we defined that it was over. so we're going to push on because what we know and I've had a word on my heart For this past week. What we know is that if we grown up weary in well doing that in due season we shall reap. [13:36:43] If we fail. And that's what I'm asking of our people. That's what I'm asking of those who believe in freedom. We sound at risk if we think now we can do some mighty body things. If we fail. We can do the same thing. That those folks in Montgomery, Alabama that topic a year long, but we think we can get a victory. If we faint not we could do the same thing. Those people are selling the Black Devils Alabama all across the country. We're not once not twice, but three times. They had to try to do a march to go from someone they made it there because then what they say that and so I'm here to tell you today that we are going to get the freedom vote in the John Lewis voting rights. because we are going to fake not we are going to push and in due season. we shall read. This is that season. Thank you. [13:37:37] >> We come by faith and we are and we are trusting trusted in his holy because he has never he's never oh I think that we also have to recognize a doctor T more than anything was a man of faith that [13:38:22] at the end of the day, we're talking about our strategy. We have to combine that with the spirit of movement with the people in the spirit of the rise. We can literally change and transform anything in this country. Let me tell you what spirit can do. There are only 600 people that actually has reached seven Alabama. They didn't have a lot of power data. Now politics on that side. They didn't have a political party representation that the Republicans or the Democrats and everybody told him and I don't have to give up. You need to stop that so much so that I can tell people around him Why We Can't Wait and come and remind you on this day. [13:39:03] In the spirit of the movement we have this day, right? And we're not going to turn around. We're actually going to transform this country to be what it deserve that we deserve. And we desire. I'm going to ask everybody just for a quick second, because I don't have long but I asked everybody just to close your eyes. On this day. Baldr eyes for a second on the ask you a question. My question to you is what would America look like without racism? I asked that question. Because that's the vision that I'm standing on. [13:39:42] And I believe in at the end of the day. Aren't we tired of the last? Aren't we tired of being divisive, are retired of a position of power. While the rest of the masses of us want something? Why do we want we all have children, we all education, we all healthcare. We all want to be treated with dignity and respect. And the spirit of the movement and in the spirit of the movement. When you combine that with strategy, you can't lose, as I want to remind you of who we are and who's we are in this moment. we can win you. [13:40:21] We can win. don't listen to what the pundits say. everything was pointing to including the president and it sucks. Yes, I persisted, right because when you recognize that there's a greater power here. I do believe that there is a level of decency and Republicans in this country and Democrats in this country, people identify themselves as a Green Party independent dare is enough of us to actually change the tack. I'm just asking you to stand up in this moment. Stand in integrity in this moment of truth, standing for the love of humanity. and I guarantee you, we can move on to transactional appeal [13:41:03] and we can track That's American America that is laid out in the Constitution. Thank you. We laid it on the Lord, and we will not come around. say a man. >> Okay, thank you. Let's cliff we can when our next speaker is joy Cheney. She is the executive director of the Washington bureau and Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for the National Urban League. [13:41:36] The National Urban League is a historic Civil Rights and urban advocacy organization, with 90 affiliates serving 300 communities, providing direct service that impact and improve the lives for the 2 million people nationwide Joy. >> Protocol hadn't been established. I want to thank the Peking family and to the other organizers for inviting the National Urban League today. [13:42:15] My name is Joy Cheney and I'm the executive director of the Washington bureau at the National Urban League, and I couldn't be breeding on behalf of Mark boreal the president and CEO of the National Urban League, who is representing the Urban League movement and MLK Day events in New York today. He will be acting there what I'm asking you right now, which side are you on? Which side are you? The thinking portion of today's program is the same that the 91 affiliates of the National Urban League are asking the senators who represent them in more than 37 states and more than 300 communities. across this nation. [13:43:00] But because the National Urban League movement, who are young professionals and our guild members and every state in this union is the same question. We are asking all senators all 100 Republican democratic independent Progressive, Conservative and moderate, which which side is the same question The President asked in Atlanta this past week? The same question that some feels too hot, too divisive to accompany. [13:43:35] but in the powerful Canterbury democracy is the only question that really matters. Which side are you on? which side are you on? feels uncomfortable because the stakes are so high? Because the answer of which side you should be on is so clear. This isn't a minor matter upon which good people can disagree. With the question is, are you on the side of the right to vote for all Americans? Or are you on the side of those who would like that bite for political cynical and yes, racist reasons. [13:44:13] There is only one legitimate answer. You have to be for the right to vote, the rights upon which all other rights depend. We are a democracy that doesn't exist fully if everyone doesn't have equal access to the franchise. So where are we at? Which side are you on? We are asking if you're on the side of America and Americans. This isn't even about politics, and gamesmanship and I'm not here because I want one party or another to win. [13:44:47] It's more important than that. It's more fundamental than everyone can vote. If people aren't seen as being able to have their voices heard. We all lose in a democracy. I'm here because I want everyone to have easy and people access to the ballot box. To have the opportunity to be represented in the hall. in the halls of power, young people, old people, black people, Latino people, Asian people, people with disabilities, people in rural America, people in urban America vying for the hearts and minds of voters by about policy, but not about their very right to vote. Finding the right to vote in a democracy is fundamentally immoral. It is wrong [13:45:32] and it is some the word I don't like to use often but it is evil. And so when we ask what side are you on, Senators which side are you on? We are asking are you on the side of right next week, all senators not just to mansion in Kingston cinema, but I'm just appointed to more than so might not have worked in the Senate. We've met with both of them. [13:46:00] I'm disappointed. I'm frustrated, because they voted to Texas and it was for lesser matters, economic matters or matters, but not the most important matter before the right to vote. But it's not just about them. It's about Senator Mitch McConnell. It's about Senator Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and the more than a dozen others who previously supported voting rights, but who in this Trumpian era in the Republican Party, this era of insanity are declining to do so now. Maybe they're afraid. I don't know. [13:46:40] We only need Senator Manchin Senator cinema because Republicans refuse to stand up for what's right for what's democratic for West American. Even though the vast majority of Americans support voting rights in this country and the bills before them. But next week, everyone will have a chance to get right. The American people on the right side to get on the right side of right. [13:47:13] They will have a chance to vote for the freedom to vote for a standard of voting that ensures the right to vote and the integrity of our elections nationwide coast to coast everyone. So let's get around to the filibuster. And let's get on to the put into an up or down vote and let the majority decide. Are you for voting rights? Or are you not? And all of us in the National Urban League movement throughout the nation, all of us in this room and who can hear the sound of my voice throughout the span of history? Past, present and future including specially will be watching what you do? We speak with one voice and asking you which side are you on? Which side are you oh thank you joy. [13:48:15] >> Reverend the lives the appearance is an ordained minister and the Presbyterian Church. A teacher at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and co chair of the Ford People's Campaign, which is working for a moral revival that's necessary to save the heart and soul of our democracy. [13:48:53] >> Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebrated his last birthday, calling for immediate action to address racism, poverty, and militarism, drawing the connection between voting rights and economic injustice, building a poor people's campaign. Today, there is no other way to honor Reverend Dr. King than to protect and expand voting rights, abolish the filibuster, raise wages, expand health care and invest in our children and families. [13:49:32] Yolanda Renee king said to take action together. As Ashley said, my name is Reverend Dr. Liz Steele Harris. I'm the director of the Cairo Center and the co chair alongside the Reverend Dr. William de Barbara the second of the Poor People's Campaign, a national call from the poor and low income people moral leaders and activists of every age and race and religion and gender and geography in nearly every state have these yet to be united states. [13:50:07] As Reverend Dr. King said just months before he was shot down. There nothing wrong with a traffic law, which says that you have to stop for a red light. When a man is bleeding. The ambulance goes through those red lights at top speed. There is a fire raging for the war society. disinherited people all over the world are bleeding to death from deep social and economic wounds. [13:50:44] They need brigades of ambulance drivers who will have to ignore the red lights of the present system until the emergency assault with fewer voting rights today than people had more than 50 years ago despite people dying for those rights with a rolling coup taking place in state legislatures across the country. Working to diminish the power of a multiracial democracy rising up with 140 million people who are poor and low income in this the richest country in the world and a third of the nation's electorate, poor and low income. [13:51:22] The nation is in desperate need of ambulance drivers who are preparing to run through the red lights of the present system to protect voting rights to abolish the filibuster to invest in the infrastructure of our democracy and our daily lives. We must run through the red lights and close polling places and redistricting and all forms of oppression. We must run through the red lights of poverty and homelessness and low wages and unemployment and abandonment. In the midst of abundance. [13:52:02] The red lines of senators who would rather listen to their wealthy corporate donors than to the demands of the people. Yes, we as a people from the to the hauler from the Bronx to the border from the California coast to the Carolinas today on MLK Day, and every day are signing up to be ambulance drivers, readying ourselves to save the heart and soul of our democracy. [13:52:37] We're gonna push to pass voting rights established DC statehood and and the filibuster. But we will not stop there. We're going to litigate in the courts and push in the legislator and engage in moral direct action in the streets to defend this democracy to promote to save the earth to demilitarize our communities to confront Christian nationalism and to lift, lift, lift from the bottom so that everybody can rise and we'll be here in DC on June 18. For a poor people and low wage workers assembly a moral march on Washington and to the polls [13:53:19] as we continue to build power as poor and impacted leaders in states across this country have been saying our deadline is victory. Let's move forward together and not one step. [13:53:47] >> Our next speaker is remote Cruz who is the president of Sierra Club, the nation's largest grassroots environmental movement. Millions of members Mr. Cruz. >> Thank you very much for the invitation to be here. My name is Ron Cruz. I'm the president of the Sierra Club, the nation's oldest and largest environmental organization. And I'm honored to share a podium with King family tweeted Rosie and all their allies in our shared by justice. [13:54:29] On behalf of the millions of our members and supporters. We urge the Senate to honor Dr. King's legacy by protecting our democracy and the freedom to go there is no excuse for the Senate to delay passing the freedom to vote. John R. Lewis act even one more day. You may ask why there is an environmental organization here today. Well, we know that voting rights our environmental rights, or justice rights are human rights. [13:55:05] So, again, I know firsthand, our lack of democracy paves the way toward environmental destruction and negligence. When a major climate disaster, like Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico the former administration felt entitled to refuse our calls for help that we're so desperately needed. At Brian a political power is the first step to enter into environmental racism and to being disenfranchised and not accessing the resources necessary for a strong economic development, recovery and equality. [13:55:42] This is not what true democracy looks like. We need a robust representative democracy to ensure that our demands for clean, healthy environment and safety from the climate crisis are heard in the halls of power. ut timing again leader not gonna let everybody again party have exploited to block robberies and violent action, raising the minimum wage, and to stop Congress from protecting our most fundamental freedom, democracy, the freedom to vote. [13:56:24] Only way around this extreme obstruction is for Democrats to change the filibuster rule. All but two Democrats are committed to this. We now need Senator as mentioned and CMR to stand on the right side of history and do whatever it takes to preserve our right to vote. The choice in front of Senator is a simple one. How do you want to be remembered? Senator is going to choose to preserve the Jim Crow rally known as the filibuster or they can choose to preserve millions of Americans voting rights instead. They can not do both. [13:57:00] They can. So these Martin Luther King Day, we call it our senators to be on the right side of history and do whatever it takes to pass the freedom to vote on our Lewis Voting Rights Act is serving the American people are watching and will judge. [13:57:33] >> Next we have Stephanie young executive director of when we all vote, a national nonpartisan initiative on a mission to change the culture around voting and increase participation in democracy, Stephanie. >> Thank you, Ashley. And good afternoon as executive director of the whaleboat a nonpartisan organization launched by former First Lady Michelle Obama, and we are in a mission to change a culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election. [13:58:12] Thank you to the King family for inviting them to vote to be a part of this moment. They could just Speaker Pelosi and a CBC church with baby and Representative Terry's leadership on Capitol Hill and all the partners here today. My late father, Bishop McKinley young Pastor Craig Bethel, a church just down the street from Auburn Avenue, which is or Ebenezer Baptist churches in Atlanta, Georgia, and he taught me that faith without works is dead. [13:58:40] I have faith in our democracy, but we have to work to keep it. From going out to Atlanta to apartheid Cape Town, South Africa, I learned that saving democracy has never been led by the people in power. It has been led by us the people and it starts in our communities. Today I stand representing Michelle Obama and the 500,000 people that we helped to get a certain turnout to vote in 2020. The 25,000 voters captains who volunteered and registered and turnout voters, PPI Caprice KNBC at Black Lives Matter Plaza and Addison and Ford, and those who stepped up coworkers doing their local elections, [13:59:19] and the hundreds and 1000s of supporters representing when we all vote to join our partners here to tell the Senate and particularly mansion and cinema and all who stand in the way of progress to pass the freedom to vote. Act. And the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, once and for all for the sake of our democracy. The American people do their part and they deserve a Senate who believes in democracy and leaders who protect them and their work for their best instead of their best interest. [13:59:50] Not to mention 83% of Americans support Federal Voting rights legislation. While the minority of the Senate has blocked or filibustered our programs. Let us release ourselves from the chains of the filibuster that block any progress. It has no basis in the competition and it has a racist and are very passed last Sunday when we published a full page ad in the New York Times joined by 31 organizations representing millions of Americans to pledge to recruit and train 100,000 volunteers registered more than million new voters organized at least 100,000 Americans to contact their senators for Federal Voting rights legislation more [14:00:28] Dr. King's words Raichur more now than ever, let us march on the ballot boxes until some how we will be able to develop that day when men will have food and material necessities for their bodies freedom and dignity for their spirits and education and culture for their mind. No matter what happens this is over. And when we all vote remains in the fight. November is coming and we're getting ready. We're committed not only to registering 1000s of people to vote, but to educate them about the importance of every elected office, from school boards to judges to governors and their secretaries of state So the Senate history has passed free to vote and the John loads Voting Rights Act once and for all. The fight continues. fine. Thank you. [14:01:16] >> Thank you, Stephanie. We'll now hear from TYFA Smith Butler, the president of Deimos, a dynamic think tank that powers the movement for adjust, inclusive and multiracial democracy. [14:01:43] >> Good afternoon. First I would like to give honor to the cake family and two decades legacy that lives on in the drum major Institute and in many of you, as it's been said, my name is Taifa Smith lover and I am pleased to represent the most a think tank that is focused on advancing and build a just inclusive multiracial democracy and economy. And we do that by centering racial equity, and the voices and the lives of black and brown people in this country who have been historically excluded [14:02:20] in the beige tradition that I'm in, I'm reminded of a song since Latasha has already signed today. Then running with Jesus a long time and I'm not tired yet. And we've been talking about voting rights a long time today. And I'm not tired yet. And as I stand here today near the end of this program to amplify and echo the need for us to not celebrate Dr. King's legacy, while states around this country legislate voter suppression in the form of these laws at least seen over the last year. [14:03:00] We cannot allow them to do this unchecked, unaccountable, unabashed, like this is normal. I mean, really what kind of gaslighting is going on here. We must stand firm as I come today from representing the movement leaders who fought to register and expand our electorate to motivate and energize people to not only show up at the polls, but believe that their civic duty and their power could make a difference. [13:03:33] When it did make a difference when Georgia showed up and elected our first black senator, our first Jewish Senator. Lawmakers in Georgia didn't choose to change the rules. They rewrite the rules to make it so that it's to provide food and water to people. They change the rules to make it so that there's less drop boxes and longer shorter hours. I should say. They're rewriting of rules and it is not about rules. It is about power and it is about control. [14:04:10] I decided today that we are here to demonstrate people. So it is not just Georgia you've heard all day today is Texas is Florida, where they are banning mailing ballots, unless are actually laws that ban mail and boundless unless voters specifically request one. Its laws in 19 states across this country that are chipping away at the very foundation of our democracy. [14:04:37] And it doesn't stop at the ballot box. We have to understand that these efforts to also undermine our ability to show up and protest and our freedom of voice is at risk. Our ability to teach our children the truth about American history is on the line. Today. Make no mistake, there is a coordinated systematic effort state by state to attack the fundamental right to vote today and that attack warrants immediate federal action. My Shiro Shirley Chisholm said, you don't make progress standing on the sidelines when calling and complaining [14:05:22] you make progress by implementing ideas. Well, we have an idea on the table today. idea that we must advance in defining moment in this country's history. And that idea is the freedom to vote Act and the John R. Lewis act, named after a man who spent nearly three decades of his remarkable life representing the people of Georgia here in Washington. It is the last great hope of our democracy. [14:05:55] The idea of national standards on automatic and same day voter registration, expanding vote by mail, baselines for early voting days, preventing partisan gerrymandering and so much more. These are the ideas that are sound and will strengthen our democracy, not restrict access to it. So Congress has a duty to defend the right to vote today to stand against these unlawful voter purchase to guard against the discriminatory state level anti voter laws and to do anything less is not decent. [14:06:34] I can think of no better way that Congress can honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Excuse me who call for justice, equality, and spoke about the fierce urgency of now than to act on these bills today. Tomorrow, this week now, and unless and until they do, we cannot back down. And we'll be talking about voting rights for a long time and we're not tired yet. Thank you. [14:07:10] >> Thank you to our last speaker on the program we'll hear from Virginia Kay Solomon, who has led the league of women voters since 2018. As the CEO of the League of Women Voters of Virginia builds upon her vision for an inclusive democracy, where every person in America has the ability and opportunity to participate and advocate for the issues that matter to them, Virginia. [14:07:52] >> Good afternoon. I know everyone's been here for some time. So thank you. I want to give a special thanks to the King family, for bringing us together and for sharing their father's legacy with us today. are gathered here as a community to pay tribute to a man who dedicated his life to service and justice for all. And it is in his footsteps. That the fight for voting rights continues. [14:08:26] We wish we didn't have to be here. Let's make it clear. We don't want to to be here today. But we must because we have a Senate that refuses to pass the bipartisan voting rights legislation and an absence of that bipartisanship. We have two senators who are refusing, refusing to remove the filibuster as a barrier to this legislation. [14:04:48] So now, we find ourselves in a historic moment that will define the future of America. Will we become an autocracy? We remain democracy So the second six out of 10 Americans believe that our accuracy is on the brink of us And there's good reason for that. [14:09:30] We have seen our capital attacks in an attempt to overturn a free and fair we've heard lies spewed in order to sow seeds of distrust in threats of harm to election workers. We've seen anti voter bills passed around the country that will limit the ability of voters to cast their ballots. And we've seen gerrymandered districts all throughout the country. Ensuring- ensuring that black and brown voters votes will not matter. [14:10:10] So these threats they are real to the future of America. These are fake. This is not imagined. But despite this despite all of these threats, we have hope. We have hope because we know that it is never never too late for these senators to change their minds. And we will do everything in our power to get them to do just that to change their minds. [14:10:45] Senators Manchin and Sinema there is no shame in changing their mind. Your mind. Superman had changed his mind. There's no reason why you can't and we know we are on the side of justice. We know we err on the side of morality and we know that we are on the side of democracy and so we ask you to join us and change your mind. [14:11:15] And that is why we take this day a day that honors the legacy of Dr. King and the freedom fighters who came before him not just a mark how far we come but to rally and to lift our voices to commit ourselves a new to the fight for democracy. And this includes the fight for DC statehood, which is a civil rights issue, which cannot be separated from the fight for democracy and voting rights. Congressman John Lewis, He said that democracy is not a state is an act. [14:11:49] And when we gather together as we have today, when we protest when we advocate when we load, we are performing the act of democracy in action. Do you want to know what democracy looks like? People here to actions and the deal that people engage in today. This is what democracy looks like. We are not a nation of the naysayers and the folks who came here today are not alarmist more, are we part of the Democratic Party? [14:12:29] To be activists here? We are a movement of believers and doers. We put ourselves on the front lines to build a perfect union for all so when our communities are pushed out of the voting process we fight when our seniors can't access the poll safely. We find that when communities are deliberately neglected or denied voting access and now we need the Senate to fight for us. [14:13:05] When we stand collectively in our power as we do today, we can create real change and progress that is long overdue. Despite isn't about today, it's been going on for some time, make no mistake. And that is why we are calling on the Senate to protect our sacred right to vote. They must deliver for our democracy [14:13:35] is about our future is about the future of our children and it will require and moral courage. And those in the Senate must do what's right, especially Senator Manchin. Be our superheroes and change your history will remember this moment and history will remember who allowed our democracy to collapse or who each must match which side they are and we hope we hope they choose Thank you all so very much. [14:14:35] >> Virginia, now for the person in the room we are going to question for the King family so they will join us on stage for a short question. MARTIN LUTHER KING III>> Happy to take questions if you stay who you are in a hurry to [14:15:25] Q>> If the Senate does not pass. What is your next step? What's the next step? MARTIN LUTHER KING III>> Well, today our focus is getting the nation galvanized and we'll have to see what happens. A lot has gone here and across the nation today. [14:16:00] And so we know this know what outcome is but what we know is our focus is today. Q>> Hello, Jimmy from the Associated Press. How can we galvanize people across the country for activism this week, if it doesn't pass tomorrow, what would your message be? [14:16:29] >> The question is well, we're gonna have to keep writing to our elected officials and keep planning spreading messages of awareness and educating people. Just because some, something doesn't get done exactly how we want it to doesn't mean that you have to keep on going and you have perseverance. And that's when the perseverance really comes in. And I think that's really a team skill to being an activist. [14:17:05] You have to learn how to persevere and keep on going and keep on going. So for young people who don't know what they're going to do if this bill does not pass well you have to keep going keep on doing what you're doing. many of my father's campaign, Were just month campaigns. they were they were quite long term. So I think it's so important that you have her two years And you have to use that as your guide you have to use that as your blueprint and to keep doing what you're doing [14:17:43] >> something extraordinarily powerful what she's saying. Which the other thing is in 1964 Dad went in to see President Johnson he told dad when Dad said we need a voting rights president and we are fresh out we have nothing we cannot do anythin for you. So when dad and his team were leaving the White House dad said to those who have him who has stopped here, what are we going to do now. We are fresh out. We have nothing, we cannot do anything for you. So when dad and his team were leaving the White House dad said to those who have him who has stopped here, what are we going to do now? Well, number one, we have to precipitate a non violent crisis so [14:18:17] that the Congress will have respond, of course, sell McCain. And therein was the opportunity for the President to sign the bill after Congress passed the bill. My only point is we just never know what is going to happen. I fought for years to get Confederate flags brought down specifically in South Carolina when I was president of SCLC. We boycotted and chose not to do our convention that year. Tragically, nine members of a church Mother Emanuel passed around and ping me who was the state senator in close to Governor Nikki Haley at the time, they would not remove that fat tragically aftermath people were killed. Flag was removed. [14:18:59] Just last year, I'm sorry to a year and a half ago now. Tragically, the death of George Floyd where we had demonstrations in every state in our nation and all over the world. all of a sudden the relics of Confederate generals have calmed down all across this nation and those rather well slavery all over the world. And my point is, we don't always know what is going to be the catalyst But what we know is, as my wife said earlier, we're not gonna give him we're not gonna give up, we're not gonna give out. 141933 Hi, Rachel Scott with ABC. Thank you so much for your time. Senator Manchin has released a statement today honoring your father in your grandfather's life. Senator Sinema has also put out a tweet. 141950 Do you think that goes far enough putting out a statement commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and what would your message be to each of them in these final hours ahead of that critical vote tomorrow? 142002 Martin Luther King Jr. III>> First of all, I would say that, you know, it's kind of frustrating for people to be releasing statements and you really have not totally adhered to my father's ideals. My father, not only gave his life but he fought for the right to vote, and he and others gave their lives. And again, Senator Manchin says he supports a deal but he won't move or is not so far moved on a pathway to say that there's a pathway for it. 142036 So my hope and my message to him would be, Senator you got to go further. You can't say I'm for something but don't have a pathway to it(?) and that's anybody who's talking about dad today, because I'm sure many senators also on the Republican side, who ought to be ashamed of themselves, who have shut down the process for voter expansion, voter protections. So that's the first thing I would say. [14:21:00] >> And I would ask them the same thing that I asked in my statements earlier. If in fact, they want to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. I would ask them to think about their own constituents. But I also asked them to think about Dr. King's granddaughter, Yolanda, who was born in 2008. In 2013, as I said earlier with the dismantle with the voting rights, act being dismantled, which was a cornerstone of her grandparents or grandfather's grandmother's legacy, and then last year with Georgia being one of the states that has a regressive and suppressive legislation, [14:21:43] and so I will ask them to think about tonight in these final hours and as they I would imagine that they will say their nightly prayers as many do before they go fall asleep tonight. And for them to really think about as they typed in or, or, or thought about the words of Martin Luther King jr. Is this the dream that Martin Luther King Jr. had for his granddaughter and for her peers for them in their 13 short years to have less voting rights. than the day that they were born. [14:22:35] >> Thank you. Again, we want to thank the King family also want to thank all the folks who helped plan this event. Particularly Stacia rose on the side. So much work goes to putting these efforts together. I want to thank all the speakers for joining us to mark today. MLK Day holiday for urgent call to action. As you heard today, tomorrow the US Senate will take on voting rights legislation, and they need to hear from you all right now. Call your senators and visit deliver for voting rights.com That is deliver for voting rights.com to find ways to take action to honor our civil rights giant Dr. King. Thank you, everyone. That concludes our program. [end]
Archived Unity File
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