Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is Latest Lawmaker Arrested in Voting Rights Fightby Greater Diversity News August 2, 2021
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) became the third African American lawmaker arrested this month while advocating for new voting rights legislation.
The congresswoman’s arrest on Friday, July 30, follows the detainment of fellow Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) and Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Georgia).
Each of them protested Jim Crow-like voter restriction laws in GOP-led states around the country.
“I will never stop fighting for voting rights,” Congresswoman Jackson-Lee exclaimed.
“The time is now to move the voting rights bills in the U.S. Senate forward!! Enough is enough.”
Civil Rights legend the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Poor People’s Campaign co-chair the Rev. William Barber II also were arrested in Washington.
Like Congressman Johnson, Jackson and Barber demonstrated outside of the U.S. Capitol demanding that the U.S. Senate abolish the filibuster to push through voting rights measures.
“We come not as an insurrection group, but as a resurrection group,” Jackson demanded during the June 23 demonstration that led to his arrest.
“We must fill up the jails … if you call yourself a child of God, you oughta act like it sometimes.”
Barber took direct aim at West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who has stubbornly refused to consider abolishing or altering the filibuster for the sake of voting rights.
“We are also here to say to Manchin: Any so-called Democrat who claims to support the non-constitutional filibuster over the constitutional guarantee that no state can deny or abridge the right to vote … you are assisting the Republicans in their extremism,” Barber asserted.
Voter suppression laws have passed statehouses in Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and 14 other states have Democrats and others concerned.
Since the 2020 election, 17 states have passed 28 laws making it harder for constituents to vote in 2021, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law.
The Brennan Center directly tied the new laws to “racist voter fraud allegations behind the Big Lie – former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud – and a desire to prevent future elections from achieving the historic turnout seen in 2020.”
Congresswoman Beatty summoned the memory of the late Congressman John Lewis after her arrest. “Good trouble,” Beatty tweeted. She demanded that her Republican colleagues “protect our voting rights” and pass the For the People Act.”
“Let the people vote,” the congresswoman demanded.
Jackson Lee reminded everyone that all of the arrests are part of the “civil disobedience” needed to move voting rights to the forefront.
“Any action that is a peaceful action of civil disobedience is worthy and more to push all of us to do better and to do more and to pass (H.R.) 1, S 1 and to pass the John Robert Lewis Voting Rights Act,” Jackson Lee stated.
“The people of Texas are desperate and need it. The people of America are desperate and need it.”