Latasha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, said the president’s possible gesture was admirable, but “we cannot just have symbolic progress.”
President Joe Biden got down on one knee in the East Room during the celebration of the 2021 WNBA champions Seattle Storm, on the eve of the vote on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act in the House and days before the anniversary of the March on Washington.
While the WNBA has been at the forefront of professional basketball when it comes to issues of social justice and police reform, this is not the first time the president gotten down on one knee with a sports organization. One photo cited by a White House source pointed to a picture with the Los Angeles Dodgers, celebrating their Major League Baseball championship.
Latasha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, said the president’s possible gesture was admirable. However, Brown cautioned “we cannot just have symbolic progress.”
Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of Black Voters Matter, said their focus remains on “passing comprehensive police reform on policy and voting rights,” and getting the president to recognize “that the filibuster has metaphorically had a knee on us for a long time.”
U.S. President Joe Biden holds a jersey as he poses for a photo with the 2020 WNBA champions Seattle Storm in the East Room of the White House on August 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The House is poised to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act on Tuesday. South Carolina Congressman and House Majority Whip James Clyburn is expecting the bill to also pass in the Senate despite the filibuster still being in play in that chamber. The filibuster has been the delay tactic in getting voting rights passed in the Senate thus far.
House Democratic leadership is set to meet with voting rights activists, lawyers and subdenomantional religious leaders this week to discuss all of the options on the table. The Poor People Campaign will be among the organizations present for the talks.
Without the For the People Act, Brown signals Americans are voting like we did in 1965, as two Supreme Court actions have gutted sections of the historic law and some Republican led states are creating restrictive voting laws.
The anger and frustration is palpable in the current state of voting rights.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event to honor the 2020 WNBA champions Seattle Storm in the East Room of the White House on August 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
President Biden’s inaction is also a flashpoint for Brown. She questioned, “where is that kind of passion and energy and commitment to voting rights? Because I’m not seeing him actually be able to say that he’s willing to do that.”
Brown is part of the leadership for the Good Trouble rally that is taking place on Saturday, the anniversary of the March on Washington. There is another activation on the same day, the annual commemoration of the March on Washington led by Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III. Both activations on Saturday will focus on the issue of voting rights and police reform.
Tuesday’s House vote on Voting Rights may cause the activists for both events to recalibrate the message of the march and rally that is expected to attract thousands to the National Mall in Washington and the Lincoln Memorial.
Organizers of both rallies say the focus and purpose is the same for the passage of voting rights and police reform.
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