Martin Luther King Jr.’s family will cross DC’s new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Monday as the world honors King’s life and legacy.
“DC Peace Walk: Change Happens with Good Hope and a Dream” is scheduled to take place on Monday morning.
Martin Luther King III; his wife, Arndrea Waters King, and a number of groups will then hold a press conference at 12:00 p.m. at Union Station. The program is closed to members of the public, who are invited to view it online at DeliverForVotingRights.com.
The Deliver for Voting Rights campaign called for “no celebration without legislation”. They called on President Joe Biden and members of the Senate to remove the voting rights filibuster ahead of Tuesday’s expected Senate vote.
The soaring Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, with distinctive arches that complement the DC skyline, opened in September.
The Kings spent Saturday in conservative-leaning Arizona rallying support for languishing federal electoral legislation. King spoke about his 13-year-old daughter, Yolanda Renee King.
“Our daughter has fewer voting rights than when she was born,” King, the civil rights activist’s eldest son, said in an interview. “I can’t imagine what my mum and dad would say to that. I’m sure they keep going over it in their graves.”
The family participated in a local campaign for Phoenix voting rights, marching with local activists and supporters of the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, a predominantly black church.
Arizona is one of 19 states that last year passed more than 30 state election laws — including a ban on giving water to voters in long lines and stricter requirements for signing ballots — that King described as “draconian.”
Another reason the family chose to appear in Arizona is to send a message to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat. Biden had pleaded with Sinema and Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, to end the filibuster, which requires the support of 60 out of 100 senators to pass most legislation.
But Sinema threw cold water on the voting rights legislation on Thursday, making it clear in a dramatic Senate speech that she would not change the filibuster rules to allow them to move forward. The filibuster, she said, enforces bipartisan cooperation. Otherwise, Republicans could just repeal and replace whenever they come to power.
King said Simena could not simultaneously express support for the bills and block them.
“History will remember Sen. Sinema for her position in the filibuster, I believe unkindly,” he said.