Martin Luther King Jr.’s descendants plan to hold a rally for voter rights on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 17, 2022. The King family will march in Washington, D.C. across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. To resemble the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, a second march will be held in Phoenix.
To truly celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Arndrea Waters King said voting rights could not be ignored.
“Voting rights was a cornerstone of his (Rev. King’s) legacy,” Arndrea King said. “We cannot simply in good faith celebrate him or celebrate that legacy with this current attack on access to the ballot box.”
The Kings are advocating for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. The former would serve to restore the enforcement provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act while the latter would simplify the voter registration process and allow access to mail-in ballots for all voters.
Both bills have caused a divide among the political parties. When the Senate voted on The John Lewis Advancement Act, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican in favor of the bill.
Martin Luther King III has been working with Democrats and Republicans to close this divide since early Aug. 2021. King III has met with several congressmen to discuss the issue.
“We are not going to give up and go away whether we are able to get this legislation at this point or not,” King III said.
King III said there would be no celebration of his father’s memorial day until voting rights are ensured for all voters. King III said citizens should write letters and tweets to their senators to aid in the fight.
In an interview with CNN, Arndrea King said Martin Luther King Jr. Day is traditionally a national day of service, and there is no better way to observe the King holiday than to stand for democracy and the rights of others.
“[T]his is a once in a generation opportunity to restore, protect and expand his father’s legacy,” Arndrea King told NBC news.
In an article on The King Center website, Bernice A. King wrote about the important role voting plays in maintaining peace in a nation.
“While voting is not the only ingredient for creating a just, humane, equitable, sustainable, and peaceful world and nation, it is a critical ingredient,” Bernice King wrote.
Later in her article, Bernice King wrote of how the use of filibusters stops voting rights bills from being passed.
“On its face, the filibuster is not unjust,” Bernice King wrote. “However, when it is used to intentionally deter and dismantle efforts for equity, social change, and equality, it is a just law being used unjustly.”
Improper use of filibusters can lead to delays in justice, which the Rev. King wrote about in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
“Justice too long delayed is justice denied,” the Rev. King wrote.
Bernice King also tweeted to clarify the King holiday will be commemorated by the King family. She encouraged others to participate as well and use their platforms to advocate for voting rights laws to be passed. Instead of taking a day off, Bernice said the Senate should use the holiday to pass the voting rights act.
A post by Bernice King was uploaded to The King Center website on Jan. 13, 2022. The article explained the theme of the 2022 commemoration: “It Starts with Me: Shifting Priorities to Create the Beloved Community.”
Bernice King’s mother, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, writes in her memoir, “Coretta: My Life, My Love, My Legacy,” how a “Beloved Community” would operate.
“The Beloved Community is fueled by unconditional love, feels like family, and transcends race, religion, and class,” Mrs. King wrote.
In her article, Bernice King wrote about the need for a way of life driven by compassion. She wrote individual change precedes unified transformation.
“It starts with me,” Bernice King wrote, “And it starts with you.”
The King Center will be hosting online seminars to educate people on the “Beloved Community” and offer ways to build a “Beloved Community.”