Martin Luther King Jr.'s family says 'we're tired of being patient,' urges Democrats to pass voting rights legislation
- Martin Luther King Jr.'s descendants on Monday issued calls for voting rights legislation.
- Hundreds marched with King's family in Washington, DC.
The family of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday threw its weight behind Democrats' efforts to pass voting rights legislation, giving impassioned speeches and interviews and leading a march in Washington, DC, that drew hundreds of attendees.
Marchers braved frigid temperatures in the nation's capital to participate in the DC Peace Walk across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. King's descendants, including his son, Martin Luther King III, 13-year-old granddaughter Yolanda Renee King, and daughter-in-law Arndrea Waters King, led the procession while holding a banner that called on Congress to "Deliver for Voting Rights."
—Lisa Bennatan (@LisaBennatan) January 17, 2022
"My mother always said the holiday should be a day on, not a day off," Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of the late civil rights leader, said in a speech held at Washington's Union Station. "Today we're not here to celebrate. We're here to be on."
Democrats have used Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday celebrating the civil rights leader, as an opportunity to push for voting rights bills, and King's family has been front and center. Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris gave speeches Monday imploring their passage.
In his own address, attended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio, King III called on Biden and the Senate to pass two embattled voting rights bills and warned "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," King said. "Well, we're tired of being patient."
—CBS News (@CBSNews) January 17, 2022
The Senate is considering two voting rights bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, which aim to enact a number of provisions aimed at making it easier for people to vote, and to restore safeguards that prevent voter discrimination. However, the bills have virtually no Republican support, and a vote on the legislation would likely face a conservative filibuster.
King III specifically called out Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who have vowed to oppose any effort from their party to end the Senate filibuster. The senators believe scraping the tool that allows a minority party to block a vote on unfavorable legislation will only increase partisanship in the chamber. Their critics, however, say they are impeding the passage of vital legislation that will protect voting rights.
"If you can deliver an infrastructure bill for bridges, you can deliver voting rights for Americans," King III said. "If you do not, there is no bridge in this nation that can hold the weight of that failure."
The King family also fanned out across national media this weekend. "There was no way that we, in good conscience, could celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. this year without ...the legislation that was the cornerstone of his legacy," Waters King told Politico.
In a separate interview, she told CBS News, "We're calling for no celebration without legislation."
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