Politics King family to rally in Arizona for voting bills for MLK Day
Biden to amp up the pressure on the Senate to change filibuster rules for voting rights during Atlanta speech
President Joe Biden is traveling to Atlanta on Tuesday to deliver a major speech on voting rights, looking to turn up the heat on reluctant senators as Democrats face pressure to pass two pieces of pending legislation opposed by nearly all Republicans on Capitol Hill. © DREW ANGERER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images US President Joe Biden speaks at the US Capitol on January 6, 2022, to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington, DC. - Thousands of supporters of then-president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a bid to prevent the certification of Biden's election victory.
PHOENIX (AP) — As the nation prepares to mark the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., some members of his family are spending it in conservative-leaning Arizona to mobilize support for languishing federal voting rights legislation.
Martin Luther King III; his wife, Arndrea Waters King; and their daughter Yolanda Renee King, 13, will take part Saturday in an on-the-ground campaign for voting rights in Phoenix. They will march with local activists and supporters from Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, a predominantly Black church, and speak about the importance of “no celebration without legislation.”
MLK III says 'history will remember Sen. Sinema unkindly' after she rejects filibuster change
Martin Luther King III reacted to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (D-Ariz.) Thursday announcement that she will not support a change to the Senate filibuster, writing in a statement that history will remember the Arizona Democrat "unkindly.""History will remember Senator Sinema unkindly. While Sen. Sinema remains stubborn in her 'optimism,' Black and Brown Americans are losing their right to vote," King III wrote in a statement shortly after Sinema's"History will remember Senator Sinema unkindly. While Sen. Sinema remains stubborn in her 'optimism,' Black and Brown Americans are losing their right to vote," King III wrote in a statement shortly after Sinema's floor speech regarding the filibuster.
“Our daughter has less rights around voting than she had when she was born,” King, the civil rights leader's oldest son, said in an interview. “I can’t imagine what my mother and father would say about that. I’m sure they’re turning over and over in their graves about this.”
Arizona is one of 19 states that have passed over 30 state voting laws in the last year — including a ban on giving water to voters in long lines, and stricter ballot signature requirements — that King called “draconian.” They make it harder for people to vote, especially people of color, he said.
Another reason the family chose to appear in Arizona is to send a message to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat.
President Joe Biden had implored Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, to end the filibuster that requires support from 60 of 100 senators to pass most legislation.
Historians say an unsuccessful protest in Georgia helped Martin Luther King Jr. become a national leader
The civil rights leader was stymied by a shrewd police chief. The campaign honed his tactics and inspired local Black people into further challenges.King led sit-ins, marches and jail hunger strikes – but seven months later, he would leave Albany frustrated and defeated, his failure to achieve immediate results considered a setback for the surging national civil rights movement.
Buton the voting rights legislation Thursday, making clear in a dramatic speech on the Senate floor that she would not alter filibuster rules so it could move forward. The filibuster, she said, forces bipartisan cooperation. Otherwise, Republicans could just repeal and replace whenever they rise to power.
“We must address the disease itself, the disease of division, to protect our democracy,” said Sinema, drawing disappointment from fellow Democrats.
Simena cannot simultaneously express support for the bills and block their path, King said.
“History will remember Sen. Sinema, I believe unkindly, for her position on the filibuster," he said.
The plea from the King family brings an especially powerful voice to an increasingly tense campaign to pressure Sinema to change her mind. Progressive groups have installed billboards and aired television ads, and activists even harassed Sinema in a bathroom at Arizona State University and a friend’s wedding where the senator officiated.
Why do Grizzlies, Hawks always play NBA games on MLK Day?
While plenty of NBA teams will be taking the floor on MLK Day, the holiday holds a special significance for the Grizzlies and Hawks. NBA League Pass: Sign up to unlock live out-of-market games (7-day free trial) Why do the Grizzlies and Hawks always play NBA games on MLK Day? Atlanta Hawks' connection to MLK King was born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1929. He grew up in the city, and he attended Booker T. Washington High School and Morehouse College. Given that connection, MLK Day is of tremendous importance to Atlanta and the Hawks franchise.
Congressional Democrats have written voting legislation that would usher in the biggest overhaul of U.S. elections in a generation by striking down hurdles to voting enacted in the name of election security. The legislation also would reduce the influence of big money in politics and limit partisan influence over the drawing of congressional districts.
It also includes the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill that would strengthen civil rights-era voting law and honor the legacy of the late Georgia congressman.
Supporters had hoped legislation would advance by the MLK holiday. Still encouraged, King urged people to take action like sign petitions or call their senators. The holiday is “not a traditional celebration where you kick back, eat barbeque and just relax,” he said. "This is about working.”
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, having worked closely as a young man with Martin Luther King Jr., said Friday that he was worried about the current lack of political consensus on voting rights. Previously, Republicans and Democrats in Washington have voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with both parties recognizing the historic nature of the legislation.
“The right to vote was the crown jewel of the civil rights struggle,” Jackson said in a phone interview, adding that “we’re in a desperate situation.”
Ultimately, he agrees with members of the King family who are pushing for MLK Day celebrations to take a different tone until Congress acts on the voting rights bills.
“There’s no time to celebrate,” Jackson said. “It’s time to demonstrate, march in big numbers. We cannot just be silent observers in this fight.” ___
Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix and Aaron Morrison in New York contributed to this report.
Senate Republicans unanimously vote down voting rights legislation, teeing up a fight over the filibuster .
The vote was a major setback for Senate Democratic leaders, who now face a difficult uphill battle to change the chamber's filibuster rules.Senate Democrats began 2022 with a full-throttle push to pass federal voting rights legislation in response to GOP-controlled states passing bills restricting voting and election administration. But they've continued to run up against unified Republican opposition to the voting measures, and dissent over filibuster reform from within their own ranks.