The family of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday urged passage of a law to protect voters from racial discrimination.
As part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day D.C. Peace Walk, the King family and more than 100 national and local civil rights groups strode across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge calling on President Joe Biden’s Democrats to pass a bill in the U.S. Senate.
The march followed a disappointing week for Biden, who went to the Capitol to urge Senate colleagues to change the chamber’s rules so they could overcome Republican opposition to the bill, only to be forcefully rejected by two conservative Democrats who hold effective veto power.
Martin Luther King III, praised Democrats for passing a sweeping infrastructure bill last year, but implored them to push through voting-rights legislation.
“We can eliminate the filibuster with a simple majority and then pass this bill that every Democratic senator says they support,” said.
He drew on a lesson from his father saying his father had been urged to reach across aisles, “After all, he was a Baptist preacher, but he knew that when someone is denying you of your fundamental rights, conversation and optimism won’t get you very far.”
Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, directed a message to lawmakers who were celebrating the federal holiday.
“Do not celebrate,” she said. “Legislate.”