Family members of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are demanding people to protest the national holiday celebrating the late civil rights icon. Instead, they are urging people to call on President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats to enact voting rights reform that has halted in Congress, according to CNN.
The activist son Martin Luther King III, his wife Arndrea Waters King and their daughter Yolanda Renee King are expected to rally activists during MLK weekend. The family hopes to propel Biden and Congress to exert the same amount of energy on federal voting rights bills as they did to push through the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
"President Biden and Congress used their political muscle to deliver a vital infrastructure deal, and now we are calling on them to do the same to restore the very voting rights protections my father and countless other civil rights leaders bled to secure. We will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father's dream for a more equal and just America," the activist's son wrote in a statement on Wednesday.
Arndrea said this is a critical moment and she is urging Biden to expedite the end of the filibuster, which is preventing the passage of voting rights protections.
“Obviously these 450 pieces of [voter suppression] legislation that have been proposed just since January of this year are literally ways to silence Black and Brown voices,” Arndrea told TheGrio.
The NAACP called out 13 Democratic and Republican senators for their lack of action concerning the issue. Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, told TheGrio that 13 senators have not confirmed that they will support voting rights protection or remove the filibuster based on the NAACP’s report card.
President Biden indicated on Wednesday that he recognizes the importance of passing voting rights legislation and tried to appease his political critics, saying that his esteemed Build Back Better plan for 2022 would enable him to codify voting laws.
“If we can get the congressional voting rights done, we should do it. If we can’t, we’ve got to keep going. There’s nothing domestically more important than voting rights,” Biden told Sean Sullivan, White House reporter for The Washington Post.