Descendants of Martin Luther King Jr. crossed D.C.’s new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge on Monday as the world honors King’s life and legacy.
“D.C. Peace Walk: Change Happens with Good Hope and a Dream” was held Monday morning. A crowd of marchers chanted in support of voting rights and D.C. statehood.
Martin Luther King III; his wife, Arndrea Waters King, and a number of groups then held a news conference at Union Station.
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Yolanda Renee King, 13, joined adults in calling for action on voting rights legislation.
“All of us can create change when we choose to show up and speak out” she said.
King’s work continues, attendee Yolanda Townsend said, joined in the march by people of all ages and backgrounds.
“Today is a day of living history. We want the country to know that the King family’s legacy is alive and well,” she said.
The program was closed to members of the public, who were invited to watch online at DeliverForVotingRights.com.
The Deliver for Voting Rights campaign called for “no celebration without legislation.” They urged President Joe Biden and members of the Senate to eliminate the filibuster for voting rights ahead of the Senate’s expected vote on Tuesday.
Rolling street closures and parking restrictions were in place. Go here for more info.
The soaring Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, with distinctive arches adding to the D.C. skyline, opened in September.
The Kings spent Saturday in conservative-leaning Arizona to mobilize support for languishing federal voting rights legislation. King spoke about his 13-year-old daughter.
“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.”
The family took part in an on-the-ground campaign for voting rights in Phoenix, and marched with local activists and supporters from Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, a predominantly Black church.
Arizona is one of 19 states that have passed over 30 state voting laws in the past year — including a ban on giving water to voters in long lines, and stricter ballot signature requirements — that King called “draconian.”
Another reason the family chose to appear in Arizona is to send a message to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat. 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.
But Sinema poured cold water on 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.
King said Simena cannot simultaneously express support for the bills and block their path.
“History will remember Sen. Sinema, I believe unkindly, for her position on the filibuster," he said.