Photo: EPA/SHAWN THEW / EFE
Hundreds of people, many of them young, marched through Washington DC on Monday to demand that the right to vote in the US be protected, on the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr Day. (1929-1968).
“Make the Senate hear them, make the White House hear who they are“, shouted Luther King’s 13-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, from the stage set up for the occasion next to the capital’s baseball stadium, before starting the march.
The demonstrators and the family of Luther King came together to protest against the Republicans’ attempts to restrict the vote in the states in which they govern, which mainly affect minorities and with the legislative elections next November in sight.
Yolanda, along with her parents Martin Luther King III and Arndrea Waters King, led the demonstration who crossed the memorial bridge for Frederick Douglas (1818-1895), the African-American writer, abolitionist, and social reformer, whose writings helped fuel the anti-slavery movement.
The march, which defied low temperatures this Monday in Washington DC due to a winter storm, passed through areas of the southeast of the capital, where many African-Americans reside.
To the beat of hip hop music, the protesters shouted slogans such as “Voting right now” and carried banners with messages such as “Keep the dream”, “Be in peace, they are in the world” and “Sinema and Manchin, side with of MLK (acronym for Martin Luther King).
That last banner referred to Democratic senators Kyrsten Sinema, from Arizona, and Joe Manchin, from West Virginia, who have jeopardized some star projects of their party and the government of Joe Biden, by being close to some Republican positions.
In the past week, Sinema threw a jug of cold water at Biden’s intentions to change the rules of the Senate, where progressives have a very slim majority, to push through two bills to protect the right to vote, noting that he rejected the change, despite supporting those legislative initiatives.
One of the participants in this Monday’s march, Thennie, director of youth programs in the District of Columbia, told Efe that she had come to protest because “the same issues that Martin Luther King spoke about in ‘I have a dream’ are who are being fought for now”, alluding to the reverend’s famous speech.
“It makes no sense that we are fighting for the same thing, we are oppressed by a certain group he added. If you think about it before they only wanted white men to vote, then they let women vote and now they want to leave minorities out.”
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