By Susana Samhan
Washington, Aug 28 (EFE).- Tens of thousands of people took to the streets here and in other cities across the United States for events in favor of voting rights to mark Saturday’s 58th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Here in Washington, a crowd estimated by local media outlets at around 50,000 joined a festive procession to the National Mall, the expanse stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.
It was from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that King (1929-1968) addressed more than 250,000 people on Aug. 28, 1963, at the culmination of his March on Washington, whose chief aim was to build support for the Civil Rights Act that would become law in 1965.
Billed as the March On for Voting Rights, the mobilizations on Saturday in Washington, Atlanta, Miami, Houston and Phoenix were intended to put pressure on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
That legislation would give the federal government more tools to counter the raft of restrictions on voting rights approved this year by Republican state legislatures in response to Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
The Republican measures, touted as a way to reduce virtually non-existent “voter fraud,” threaten to make voting more difficult for minorities and for poor and working people regardless of color or ethnicity by limiting postal voting and reducing the number of polling places, among other steps.
The Lewis Act has won approval in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, but faces a difficult path in the Senate, where Republicans hold enough seats to enable them to prevent the chamber from even holding a vote.
“People have done it before, and we’ll do it again. We will demand federal voting rights until we have them. So don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t give out. You are the dream, and this is our moment to make it true,” Martin Luther King III, son of the slain civil rights leader, said Saturday in Washington.
Speakers at the event included King III’s 13-year-old daughter, Yolanda King, who displayed an eloquence beyond her years.
“It’s easier to register to own a gun, than it is to register to vote. Think about that. If you are a Congressperson protecting firearms, why won’t you protect the right to vote? That is completely unacceptable,” she said. EFE