By: Alyssa Wilson
Black women leaders, including the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, were arrested Thursday during a march on the U.S. Senate as they were protesting bills around the country striving to restrict access to voting.
DEVELOPING STORY I Several Black female leaders were handcuffed in Washington, D.C., during a #votingrights march on the U.S. Capitol. @MsLaToshaBrown, co-founder of @BlackVotersMtr was among the protesters. pic.twitter.com/mjC5ZrCzL0
— BNC (@BNCNews) July 15, 2021
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Civil rights groups were hosting a day of action on Capitol Hill, calling for the passage of national voting reform legislation and ending the filibuster. More than 40 groups, many led by Black women, stood in the nation’s capital to urge members of Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The groups want these bills to override a wave of voting bills in Republican-led states meant to tighten access to the ballot box.
Texas Democrats are still in Washington, D.C., after fleeing Texas to prevent the passing of restrictive voting legislation. Representative Nicole Collier of Texas said, “We need the federal government to act to provide model legislation to carry us through. So we’re handing the baton off to the federal government to pass legislation.”
This fight has been ongoing for many months. In March, Georgia Representative Park Cannon was arrested and dragged through the State Capitol after knocking on Governor Brian Kemp’s door as he signed S.B. 202 into law.
The attack on voting rights began after former President Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers falsely claimed the 2020 presidential election was stolen. By mid-February, 253 bills across 43 states were proposed to tighten access to voting. By May, the number rose to 389 bills in 48 states, The Washington Post reported.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden addressed the nation about the fight to protect the constitutional right to vote. In his comments, he said more people in America voted in 2020 than in any other year in the history of the country. He also called the efforts to suppress voters “undemocratic.”
The For the People Act passed in the House in March but stalled in the Senate. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act aims to restore provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were struck down in 2013 by the Supreme Court because they were ruled obsolete. A version of the legislation passed in the House in 2019, but it also stalled in the Senate.
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