On Thursday, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, was arrested while protesting for voting rights in a Senate office building.
U.S. Capitol Police arrested Rep. Beatty and eight other activists who were demonstrating in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. In a statement, police said they arrested the protestors for “demonstrating in a prohibited area on Capitol Grounds.”
Rep. Beatty, along with a small group of 12 protesters, were participating in a small, peaceful rally as part of the “Speak Out: Call to Action Day on Capitol Hill” event. They were demonstrating to defend the right to vote and protest the current wave of restrictive voting laws being introduced and passed in state legislatures.
“I stand in solidarity with the Black women and allies across the country in defense of our constitutional right to vote,” Beatty said in a statement after her arrest. “We have come too far and fought too hard to see everything systematically dismantled and restricted by those who wish to silence us. Be assured that this is just the beginning. This is Our Power, Our Message.”
On Twitter, Beatty posted photos of police zip-tying her hands. She captioned the photos, “Let the people vote. Fight for justice.” She then tweeted the hashtag #GoodTrouble, referencing the late Representative John Lewis (D-GA). Lewis was a civil rights leader who encouraged activists to make change by getting into “good trouble.”
Demonstrators called on senators to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, two bills that would protect and expand the right to vote. They also chanted to end the filibuster, which would eliminate the legislative block that has prevented the bills from being passed in the Senate.
Deborah Scott, a protester who came from Georgia to participate in the demonstration, said “The filibuster silences our votes and our voices. What we did in Georgia is being affected. We turned the vote out, and now to see Congress not fight for our rights means, we had to come here.”
Beatty wrote on Twitter, “You can arrest me. You can’t stop me. You can’t silence me.”
Sources: CNN 7/15/21; U.S. Capitol Police 7/15/21; Congresswoman Joyce Beatty 7/15/21; Twitter 7/15/21; New York Times 7/15/21; Washington Post 7/15/21; Twitter 7/15/21