On Saturday, thousands of people protested in Washington, D.C. and nationwide to both honor the 58th anniversary of the March on Washington and rally for voting rights.
Participants of the rally, which was called the March on For Voting Rights, marched to protest the onslaught of recently passed state laws that restrict the right to vote. These laws predominantly restrict voting access for people of color and disabled people by creating burdensome requirements of mail voting, curtailing voting hours and locations, and limiting the assistance available for delivering mail ballots.
The march, organized by the National Action Network and other organizations, took place on the anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Protesters gathered at the U.S. Capitol building to rally for the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would work to end gerrymandering and restore key provisions to the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, respectively. People also marched for a federal $15 minimum wage, an end to police brutality, an end to the filibuster, and D.C. statehood.
Several protesters also joined the Make Good Trouble rally which marched on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and took place the same day.
“The moral and constitutional crisis we face today is the direct result of forces in state legislatures that organized to push back against the political power that mobilized here 58 years ago today,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, at the Make Good Trouble Rally.
“Because we don’t have sufficient federal protections, we still have actors in the state legislatures in 49 states trying to, and in many ways succeeding in, suppressing the vote, blocking living wages, police reform, health care, education funding and many more. So we are not gathered here to commemorate something that happened once upon a time. We are here today to continue the work of our foreparents who fought to expand democracy and make ‘liberty and justice for all’ a reality.”
“It’s time to believe again,” he continued. “It’s time to believe the heart and soul of democracy can live. With every breath we have, while we still have time, together let’s rise up and do more to build a true one America that works for all of us.”
Sources: NPR 8/28/21; The Guardian 8/28/21; Washington Post 8/28/21; Poor People’s Campaign 8/30/21