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Dr. King called it a "sacred right"

The beauty of our democracy is that every American holds decision-making influence in the form of their vote. That's how we make sure that the power of our government comes from, and rests with, the people.

Unfortunately, that's also why so many of our most dangerous actors – especially white supremacists and the partisan politicians who serve them – have done everything they can to keep people of color from exercising the right to vote.

Today, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose courage and clarity (along with hundreds of other activists, organizers, and leaders) led to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.

For decades, this protected some of the voices of the previously disenfranchised.

Over the last few years, Republicans – aided by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell's right wing judges – have aggressively attacked the Voting Rights Act to try and disenfranchise voters, especially Black Americans.

When Democrats took back the House two years ago, the very first bill we passed was a robust pro-democracy package that would protect the right of every American to vote. As he did with any meaningful reform, McConnell proudly sabotaged it.

Now that we've taken back the Senate and the White House, our first order of business must be shoring up the pillars of our democracy by passing bold election reforms to protect voting rights.

Dr. King called ballot access a "sacred right," and argued that racist, anti-democratic attacks on that right amount to "a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition."

On January 6, we saw the consequences of that betrayal, as a white supremacist mob stormed the halls of Congress because they believed that their votes were more important than others'.

That's exactly the repulsive, dangerous belief system that Dr. King inspired the nation to resist 50 years ago. Today and in the weeks to come, we recommit to that work in his honor.



P.S. Given J. Edgar Hoover‘s unethical and illegal targeting of Dr. King, it would be fitting to rip his name off the FBI headquarters as we revisit his twisted and perverted leadership of that important institution.

Posted on January 18, 2021.