tv March On for Voting Rights Rally CSPAN August 30, 2021 4:03pm-5:13pm EDT
columbia. in this portion you will hear from house members including congressional black caucus hair -- chair as well as martin luther king iii. the rally coincided with the 58th anniversary of the march on washington led by martin luther king jr.. >> cannot you just hear fannie lou hamer speaking to us. let me tell you, as chair of the congressional black caucus, it is my honor to stand on this stage. following the members of congressional black caucus. we are united.
we come to you today with an ask. we ask you to stand with us. we ask you to fight with us. we ask you to make justice for us. we know that there are so many in justices -- injustices. far too many of our black boys and girls were being killed. far too many of our boys and girls are in the system. they have unequaled sentencing and treatment. if we do not stand up for voting rights, and get people registered to vote, we cannot make a difference. let me say thank you to my good friend, the reverend dr. al sharpton and the national action network. to martin luther king iii and his lovely wife. and my favorite, the
granddaughter of martin luther king jr.. yolanda renee king who will be with us today. we are here, let it be clear, 58 years ago, some 25,000 people came on these hollow grounds. they came because they knew, if they could look to the future, they would need to give us a blueprint. when people ask us why we are here, i want you to tell them we know what we have to do -- lose. tell them it was the congressional black caucus that led the vote this week for hr for, the john lewis voting rights advancement act. there was a black woman in the speaker's chair during the debate on hr four. that little black woman was me.
i want you to tell them that there was a black woman in the speaker's chair when we hit the gavel and called for that vote of 200 and 20 -- 220 two 212. it was a black man to deliver the president. he delivered the president because black folks and brown folks and white folks got out and got people registered and got people to vote. let me end by saying to you that our work is not over. i do not want you to get comfortable. we have to continue in this fight. that our work is far from over. we have folks in the senate that think they are not going to vote for this. they do not know the power of the people. they do not know the power of the votes gather here today.
>> so powerful, dynamic queen she is. let the church say amen. president of the largest and oldest hispanic organization in the united states, league of united latin american citizens is called the lulac. his life is that of a self-made success in public service spanning decades of hard work and sacrifice. mr. domingo garcia, national president of lulac. ♪ >> good afternoon.
my name is domingo garcia. let me tell you something. when i was 10 years old, my father and mother who did not speak english or going through a small town in texas. they stopped at a gas station to get burgers. when we got there, the man, a white man, told my father this and pointed to the sign. my father asked me to read it for him. that the said so mexican, no dogs allowed. that struggle continues today. i am from texas. in texas yesterday, the republican court approved a voter suppression bill. let me ask you a question, should be illegal to give people who have waited six or seven hours to vote water? should be illegal? should it be illegal to give an
app city to a senior citizen so they can void by mail -- vote by mail? should be illegal to take souls to the polls? we need to stop -- step back and fight back. your vote is your voice. there are people who are trying to stifle our voice. let me tell the governor abbott, as soon as you sign that voter suppression bill, we will follow with a lawsuit to stop you to stop you from taking our right to vote. sometimes, good trouble, you have to start it. sometimes, you have to break the law to change the law. i do not have a problem having water to a senior citizen who is waiting to vote. if they rest me for it, i want to go to jail. so did rosa parks, so was
others. we have to stand up and defend everybody's right to vote. finally, for every person toiling out in the field today to put vegetables on our tables, every person who is watching the bathrooms in a hotel or restaurant today, to the people who work in meatpacking plants, they need a voice that could stand up and say we need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. we need osha to enforce the protections for covid. that is how we are going to do it. i look forward to working with martin luther king iii so that children would not be put in cages. i want to think al sharpton for inviting me here today and everyone who is working to make sure that when we say with liberty and justice for all, we
mean all. thank you. ♪ >> let me welcome a good friend, a major leader of a major organization. that has been around since 1909. it is still going strong. they understand the importance of registering people to vote, turning out to vote, and when it comes to public policy, they are always at the table.
ladies and gentlemen, the current resident and ceo of the naacp, a title he has held since 2017, please welcome derek johnson. >> thank you. you may not know joe madison because you do not listen to the black eagle radio show, but he was once the chairman. he was one of the most effective organizers we ever had. he was effective because he understood that marches and demonstrations and rallies are the events between the work. the work is when we leave here,
to make sure that we put the demands on 50 senators to pass voting rights protections. at the end of the day, people will try to have us debate about the filibuster rules. and what the president is going to do. our demand must be clear, get it done. if you can find the ability to pass an infrastructure pill for $3.5 trillion, you can find the political will to protect the rights of boats across this country. -- votes across this country. if you can put money into afghanistan for 20 years, there is no way we do not have to get the right to vote. it is about the right to vote. everything is secondary. that if anybody wants to come our committee and support
climate change, are you fighting for our right to vote? if they come to talk about voter rights, i'm going to protect the right to vote? if they want us to sit up for their issue, are you going to protect our right to vote? our vote is our currency. our currency collectively deposited together elected two senators this year. it put joe biden in the white house. it elected the first black president, the first black female vice president. our currency collectively deposited together cannot be suppressed. if we leave here, and prepare for the next phase of this fight. we do not want to hear any
excuse about joe manchin. and other senators. i want to know if all 50 members of the senate who depend on black votes are ready to protect our vote. that is the question we need to ask state state. -- state by state. naacp, a 112-year-old organization. we find for our franchise. my question to all of you who are here and listening, are you ready to stand to protect the right to vote? peace and power. [applause] ♪ >> let us hear it for the ceo of
the sea -- naacp. >> when people ask her what she wants to be remembered for, it comes down to this. a relentless commitment to a fair shot for every d.c. resident. ladies and gentlemen, the mayor of the district of columbia. the honorable muriel bowser. ♪ >> good afternoon and welcome to washington dc. my hometown. the greatest city in the world. soon to be the 51st state. i want to thank reverend
sharpton and the national action network for bringing us together on this historic occasion. today we stand on the shoulders of giants, generations of civil rights leaders and activists. from dorothy heights to dorothy king, to my friend luis. to so many others and in between. they want us all to say on this stage and every day to keep pushing, fighting, and keep demanding. we should not. we know that it should not take this long to secure our fundamental rights. we should not have to keep marching. we should not have to be here 58 years later to stop the disenfranchisement of people. but we will, we will march, we will vote, we will organize, and ladies and gentlemen, we will run for office.
speaking for the 700,000 residents of washington dc who do not have a single vote in that house, we will become the 51st state. as i told the senate earlier this year, i promise you today, d.c. residents have been in this fight for nearly 220 years. we will not quit until we achieve full democracy. i refuse to give up my birthright. i refuse to let 100 people in the senate off the hook. that -- by not perfecting our democracy by making d.c. the 51st state. too many americans don't know our plight. we are americans. we pay taxes. we pay more taxes than 22 states
and more per capita than any one of them. we send our people to war to fight for our democracy. we sent our public services into that building to save it from insurrectionists. yet, we do not have a vote. we know that they statehood is constitutional. -- that d.c. statehood is constitutional. like all of the voter suppression we are talking about today, the refusal to grant d.c. statehood is a legacy of slavery and jim crow america. we refuse to let it stand. above everything else, we know that d.c. statehood is the only way to write -- right historic wrong. the senate has a job to do, the house has done its job. the president of the united states has endorsed d.c.
statehood. now we demand that they figure out a way to get it done. we cannot just celebrate small victories. we have to push for the ultimate victory. that is when our votes, black, brown, votes are protected all across the united states of america. that is when d.c. becomes the 51st state. black americans have fought for every single right we have today. black women have fought for every single right we have today. we fought for our freedom, for our citizenship, for access to the ballot box, and we are not done. we will not be done until we have true equality. let us keep pushing, keep making our voices heard, and demand that we protect every vote. that we grant d.c. statehood. thank you. [applause] ♪
>> i have the great privilege of introducing a young lady that i had the pleasure to meet. one cold martin luther king day, on martin luther king avenue in washington d.c.. she is the first and only grandchild of dr. martin luther king jr.. she is no stranger to the main stage. at the age of 13, she is an absolute powerhouse. welcome yolanda renee king. [applause] ♪
>> hello washington. my name is yolanda renee king. i am the proud granddaughter of coretta scott king and martin luther king jr.. today is a historic day because on this day, my grandfather led a march on washington to demand that our country give black americans the same rights as white americans. it is also the day that a young boy named emmett till was lynched in mississippi in 1955. he was 14. just about my age.
for him at every life lost to racism and hatred in this country, all like to observe a moment of silence. [silence] people have been asking me why i watch for voting rights. what is my role in this when i am 13 and cannot vote. here is what i tell them. my generation cannot vote but your vote affects us. we have to demand that our leaders do their jobs. marching and activism are the tools we have and need to use. i am march because this is not a game, it's about the issues and policies that affect our lives. it's about the kids were still to go to school because of gun violence. the black women who are fighting hard every day to make it easier
for people to vote. i march because i am tired of elected officials putting themselves first. i am disgusted by the behavior of many of our leaders. in this country, it is easier to register to own a gun than to register to vote. think about that. if you are a a compass person protecting firearms, or want to protect the right to vote? that is completely unacceptable. i march because i want change. for everyone who comes next. my grandma said that every generation has to earn their freedom. i believe that our generation can free the generation yet to be born. adults have failed us so we need to make -- take matters into our own hands. i march because i know activism works. i have seen it in my own family. when president reagan refuse to pass the bill to make martin luther king day an official
holiday, my grandma met with many clinical leaders to tell them why it was so important -- political leaders to tell them why it is so important. eventually reagan signed the bill. activism works. here is my question to elected officials. why are you in office? are you here for power or are you here to use your platform for good? if you say you're here for good, prove it. pass the for the people act, the john lewis footing rights act and the washington d.c. admissions act. these bills cannot wait and we are being silenced. here is my message, get loud. you can call and emailing your percentages directly. i will be doing that every day. talk about this on social media and tell your friends about what is going on. the torches being passed to us. it's time for our generation to
wake up the world. so we can stop talking about the dream and start living the dream. [applause] we will be the generation that earns and wins our freedom once and for all. when we are done, we will be able to see across this land in many tongues, -- [speaking spanish]. thank you d.c.. [applause] ♪ >> hey, reverend richardson.
where is reverend richardson? reverend richardson? that is a tough act to follow. but you got to do it. ladies and gentlemen, pastor of the historic grace baptist church in mount vernon, new york, he leads the largest african-american church in westchester county, new york. a renowned leader, a renowned preacher, who has traveled across this world. but one of his most important responsibilities, besides serving god, he is chairman of the board of the national action network. please welcome the reverend, dr. w. franklin richardson. [applause] dr. richardson: thank you, brother. certainly we have been
stimulated knowing that our future is intact. because we heard the voice of martin luther king's granddaughter taking us into the future. i'm glad to be here today to celebrate with you, on behalf of the future action network, our trustees, chapters, and chapter leaders across the country, i am happy to tell you that we are continuing this long fight. we stand here today in the legacy of those who believed that one day, all of us americans will have the right to be fully who god has called us to be. full participants in the struggle. we are here today to hold the legacy, first held by the most oppressed of us, the africans who when they got off the boat, there were those who said before i will be a slave i will be buried and be buried with my
god. we are here today to live out their expectation. we are here to fight until we get what they envisioned. we are here today to register to this nation that we will not tolerate inequality in any shape or form under any circumstance, under any gender, any race, any tongue, any social class. all of us are equally valuable in the american mosaic. and we praise god for that today. and so, i am here to say how important it is that you have come today. it is my privilege now to present the visionary for this occasion. i want to celebrate martin luther king iii and his wife and family who have been working together with our leader to help us make this a reality. i want to present to you, reverend al sharpton, the person who has born the vision, who has
held us together. though there have been attempts to abort us, he has held us together. his vision has been clear, he sacrificed his life, he has been through great trials and tribulations, but he is the single, most powerful voice for african americans in this country today. and we ought to give him his praise. we ought not wait until he dies, we need today to celebrate reverend al sharpton, who is our leader and has brought us across these years into a new era. an era of inclusion. an era of all involvement. my brother, my friend, my president, al sharpton. let us receive him, president of the national action network. [applause] ♪ >> i am not reverend sharpton. [laughter] you know, it is hot.
on my way here today, i saw unhoused people living in the parks not far from here. and what i felt was rage. and what i feel every day is rage. i feel rage right now that they are trying to take our votes away. that they are trying to take your votes away. they are trying to take our power away. and that is, for me, what moves me in this movement, is to summon that rage and use it. but there is someone who i am introducing next, who reminds me that the other thing you have to carry with you is love. in order to achieve dr. king's beloved community, you need love. and she is the embodiment of this. i want to introduce andrea king. [applause]
♪ ms. king: hello, d.c. good afternoon. my name is andrea waters king. i am the president of the drum major institute, which was founded in 1969. on martin luther king jr.'s vision of a world free of poverty and violence. but i will forever be satisfied to be known as the mother of that incredible young girl who just heard from. [applause] we are in the middle of an awakening in this country. and i know that you feel it. the roar of the divine feminine will no longer be ignored. the magic of black girls can no longer be overlooked. and the power of black women can no longer be underestimated. we have shown up for this country time and time again, even when it has not shown up for us. when i look out today, i am overcome with a sense of pride in america. on january 6, we saw the worst
of our country. today, we see the best. we are not chanting make america great again. it is time to make racists afraid again. this is what democracy looks like. i want to thank you all for being here. because i believe, and i know that you share this belief. there is no issue more urgent than the attack on voting rights. so while your energy today here inspires me, i know you're tired on the inside. i know you're tired of the daily trauma of racism and the fighting for the things that should be given freely in a democracy. we are tired of fighting for a something as simple as a world of dignity and love and kindness. and i know that sometimes you might wonder, where is that arc of the moral universe that bends towards justice? at the march in 1963 there was not yet a voting rights act. and in 2021, there is no longer a voting rights act. so where is that arc? because sometimes it feels like
it is bending back towards injustice. but we are not the first to ask ourselves that question. when john lewis and hosea williams were getting beaten by state troopers in selma in 1965, you can bet they were asking, when the reverend was getting struck in the face by a violent sheriff, you can bet she was asking. when a man was shot down in his driveway for working to desegregate mississippi and register voters, you can bet he was asking. when viola woman was killed by the ku klux klan after voting rights march, you can bet her five children were asking. and when caretta scott king laid 39-year-old husband to rest, you can bet she was asking too. they were all great leaders. but they were also human. and we all have our moments of doubt. but let me remind you of
something that caretta scott king said. freedom is never really won. you earn it and you win it in every generation. think about that. you earn it and win it in every generation. the arc lives in the hearts of all of those fellow brothers and sisters. we must bend that arc of the universe towards justice. in atlanta, there as an eternal -- there is an eternal flame that burns for caretta scott and martin luther king. i sometimes think about how fire is one of the most powerful forces in the world. it can be used to create warmth and generate power or can be an instrument of destruction. the truth is that there is a fire of hatred in the hearts of some people. and throughout that smoke they cannot see the humanity in people or the joy of community. there are smoldering embers of empathy in the hearts of others and even know they can see the forest for the trees, they see
the truth that people are treated differently because of the color of their skin. they would rather turn away and let that forest burn because it is not there forest. that is the destruction of fire. but in your heart, there is a fire that does not destroy, it fuels. the same flame that lived in dr. king and the freedom riders and every person who marched on that hot day in 1963. it is the same flame that burns in the hearts of our ancestors and pushed them to keep going when they felt like all was lost. it fueled your feet today is the same flame that -- when you feed that fire, the fire of peace, justice, and equity, you keep it going and you pass it on. you turn those smoldering embers to apathy into a flame of empathy in the hearts of others until they cannot ignore the difference between right and wrong. and you ignite the next generation. that is how we bend the arc. it was bent for us, and now it is our time to bend it.
many of you might remember dr. king talked about the beloved community. this idea that we can have a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of our fellow human beings. i know it feels sometimes like we are far from that dream. but i want you to look around. you are the spark of the beloved community. and right now at this very moment, thousands and thousands of people are marching with you. across cities across this nation, in atlanta, miami, phoenix, chicago, nashville, tulsa, omaha, jackson, and more. that is a beloved community. that is your community. and communities have power. today is only the beginning. so tomorrow morning when that flame in your heart wakes you up and propels you out of bed, pick up the phone. call your senators and representatives. spread the word on every platform you have. demand passage of the voting rights act, the for the people act, and the washington, d.c.
admissions act. whatever it takes. tell them to stand for laws that lift us up, not limit us. and to make brotherhood and sisterhood, not empty utterances, but the first order of business on all legislative agendas. and then wake up the next day and do it again, until we have created so much power that the forces of injustice cannot stand. do it until we freedom was won -- do it until we bend that arc of justice. that is how freedom was won in 1965 and that is how justice will win in 2020. and then -- and then we shall see what has become of the dream. thank you, america. [applause] ♪ now it is my distinct honor and pleasure to bring forward the love of my life, the man with whom within a few minutes of meeting, i knew he was the best man i ever met. he has done work on all
continents except antarctica. and who always does what is right when no one understands. and even through that, he carves out time in his schedule every day to make sure that he takes our daughter to school. 30 minutes one way and 30 minutes back. and brings me roses once a week. that's martin luther king iii. [applause] ♪ martin luther king iii: good afternoon, washington, d.c. we stand here today not far from where the spot was that my father said some very famous words 58 years ago. it was a hot day, just like this one. and the crowd was getting restless. so he pushed aside his prepared speech and started talking about a dream. i believe his words have
remained so powerful after all these years because he described a vision for the way america ought to be. he issued a challenge to this country, to live up to the ideals in its founding documents. like all of us, he had read those words since he was a child. now before i finish, and i will be finished in a few moments, i do not need a lot of time to say what i have to say. but i got to say something about my daughter and my wife. i think -- and we are so blessed to have a little young lady who is an activist. did you enjoy yolanda renee king? [applause] and yolanda is who she is because of andrea waters king, my wife.
so you see, my father saw the hypocrisy of a nation that could shout that all men were greeted created equal and while counting some of them as 3/5 of a human being. while beating black children for the crime of swimming in a public pool. while throwing japanese children in internment camps. he read those words in our founding documents, and 58 years ago today, he stood on the small -- on this mall and said to our government, make them true. you say we have inalienable rights? make it true. you see every person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? now make it true. but the most important thing he did that day was to not challenge the powers of the government to make it true. it was to challenge the over
200,000 marchers who came that day to make it true. it was to challenge marginalized voices to make it true. and it was the challenge to white america to not turn the other cheek, to stand on the side of what is morally right and make it true. throughout history, we have been reminded that democracy is not a bank you make a deposit once every four years in when you cast a vote. and taking withdrawals from every other day. as john lewis said, in his final message to us, democracy is not a fate, but it is an act. he also told us that the vote is not guaranteed, and that we could lose it. that means we cannot elect leaders and declare victory when
our work is not done. we must remain engaged to create the accountability of political power that leads to change. let me tell you a story about that. because when the civil rights act of 1964 was signed, and my father visited the white house, and he told president johnson, this is not enough. we need a voting rights bill. because at the time, states could pass all kinds of laws designed to keep people from voting. but president johnson told my father, i can't do it. i used up all of my political power to get the civil rights act passed. so that day when my father walked out of the white house, people said, well, what are you going to do, dr. king, now? he said, we are going to go back to the south to get him power.
now, i won't pretend it was simple. people were beaten, some were killed, police turned dogs and fire hoses on peaceful marches who just wanted to vote. but every day, the voices got louder, the demonstrations got bigger. the reporters showed up in greater numbers. and the moral outrage grew. and that is how the voting rights act happened. through the power of the people. so today, we need that same nonviolent, but morally forceful action from every person of conscience in america. that is what john lewis called good trouble. and we need more good trouble, because there is a lot of bad trouble out there, starting with the lies that got us to this point. we hear a lot about the big lie, a lie that some of our own legislators in congress are pushing every day.
they ask some americans, believing that our last election was stolen, when every review found that votes were counted fairly and accurately. and they are using that lie to justify all of those laws that will make it harder for black and brown people to vote. but that big lie is not the first in our history. in fact, it is born out of the biggest lie of all, and that is that some people are inferior because of the color of their skin. that lie justified slavery and a then led to a civil war that nearly tore this country apart. and out of that, another lie was born, that the confederacy was engaged in a noble cause, rather than the evil because of slavery, which is not only a treasonous act against our country, but a treasonous act against god. all over the south, monuments to
that lie popped up in town squares and state buildings as a glorification of white supremacy. and an affirmation to those who still believed in it. let's be clear about what we mean. we are talking about statues and flags honoring people who wanted to buy and sell their fellow human beings as property. over the last few years, protesters have stood up to those symbols and torn them down. but the biggest monument to white supremacy remains. and if we do not tear it down, nothing else matters. it's called the filibuster. now, i do not know if you all know what the filibuster is all that well. it is one of those words you hear on the news. people rarely explain it. and when they do, they do not tell you the whole story. so here is the whole story. the filibuster is an old senate
loophole that has been used for more than 100 years to block civil rights legislation. it lets any senator to object to a bill for any reason, and when they do, the bill needs 60 votes to get anywhere. not just a simple majority. some people say that it is about keeping things bipartisan. but let's look the facts. in the 1890's, the filibuster was used to block legislation that would protect the rights of black voters in the south. because officials in the south did not want newly freed slaves to have any power. in 1922, 1932, and 1935, it was used to block in legislation bills that 70% of americans supported.
think about that. filibustering a law that says there will be consequences if you hunt and murder someone? in 1942, 1944, and 1946, it was used to block anti-poll tax legislation. it was not until 1964 that we finally had enough pro-civil rights senators to overcome the filibuster and pass the civil rights act that ended jim crow. that is 100 years. 100 years that our government used the filibuster to keep black americans from having the full promise of freedom. and now they are doing it again. our country is backsliding to the unconscionable days of jim crow. and some of our senators are saying, well, we can't overcome the filibuster. then i say to you today, get rid of the filibuster. [applause] that is the monument to slavery we must dismantle.
that is the monument to white supremacy we must tear down. i know some leaders want to keep it, but their arguments are as ridiculous as the arguments that kept people in shackles for almost 250 years. so we need to turn up the pressure on the leaders who think their flimsy talk about bipartisanship is more important than our rights. it reminds me of when james baldwin said we can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression. if you are not fighting for voting rights, at any cost, your disagreement is rooted in the oppression of millions, and you do not love us. now, there is another lie that states are using to take away the protections that people marched to die for. it is a lie that says these laws protect election integrity and point to the fact that they do
not explicitly say black or brown people cannot vote. well, let's talk about it. in 1963, there was no law that said a black person could not vote. you could not do that because of the 15th amendment. there was just a rule in louisiana that said voters have to pass a literacy test for the trick questions that even harvard students recently failed. and the white poll watchers did not make the white voters bother with it. there was just a rule in some places that said you had to guess how many jellybeans were in a jar before you could vote. and somehow, all of the white voters got it right. there was just a rule that said you had to pay a tax to vote. which would cost half a week's wages were poor black and brown voters. and locked out women who often had no access to their own money. laws often appear neutral until
you look at their impact, that is where you discover their intent. the same thing is happening today in states across the country. how do you prevent certain people from voting without explicitly saying they cannot vote? you cut back on mail in voting, and reduce polling place hours, then the voting has to happen during the business day. which just happens to be the time that black and brown and poor voters who work service jobs cannot get away. you take away polling places in the middle of big cities like they are doing in atlanta, which just happens to be where hundreds and thousands of black voters cast their ballots in 2020. you make the lines three or four hours long and then prosecute anyone who tries to pass out water to those who are waiting in a line so long they had to take the day off work and risk getting fired. you put polling places hundreds of miles away from native
american reservations. and then you make it a crime for anyone to collect mail in ballots and help deliver them. or you let more than 700,000 mostly black and brown people in this city of washington, d.c. vote for president, but do not give them voting representation in congress. it seems to me that is taxation without representation. that has to change. washington must become the 51st state. this is a moment of profound danger. in a matter of weeks, state legislatures will redraw the lines of congressional districts. and they will gerrymander into further oppression if we do not act. and through the power of public outrage, force them to act. but we can do this because when people like you, black, brown, indigenous, asian, and white come together to do what is right, we are a force of nature.
this is a battlefield of morals. and you are armed with the truth. and the truth is a flame you cannot extinguish. people have done it before and will do it again. we will demand federal voting rights until we have them. so do not give up, do not give in, do not give out. you are the dream, and this is our moment to make it true. some may ask, how long will it be? well, i do not know. my father said how long, not long. why? because the moral arm of the universe is a long, but it bends to justice. how long? not long. wrong forever on the throne. god keeping watch above us all. how long? not long. because no lie can live forever. how long? not long. because god almighty is still on the throne. thank you, and god bless you.
[applause] >> without further ado, he is one of the most prominent activists in the country. the man who was not afraid to speak up for the voiceless and stand firm on his beliefs. please welcome the president and founder of national action network, the reverend dr. al sharpton. dr. sharpton: no justice. >> no peace. dr. sharpton: no justice. >> no peace. dr. sharpton: no justice. >> no peace. dr. sharpton: what do we want? >> peace. dr. sharpton: what do we want? >> peace. dr. sharpton: when do we want it? >> now.
dr. sharpton: all right. first, let me say thank you to all of you who have come today. many came for the march. some waited for this rally. over 20,000 people came through the streets of washington with us today. in the sweltering heat. you can judge by the numbers by the blocks. some fainted, we had to send some buses back. but you stayed. as we make this point, let me first celebrate the partnership that we have had with the drum major institute and march on martin luther king the third, andriy a king, and my niece, yolanda king. and the march on family, give them a big hand. [applause]
let me say a couple of things, and then we are going to bring out some closing speakers. first and foremost, 21 years ago, martin luther king the third was president of sclc. and i was in my eighth year heading the national action network. we came to washington with his mother, the wife, widow, copilot of the movement with dr. king. and she would not speak that day. she introduced he and i. and every year, we have found our way back in washington to stand on this state of the dream. we were here last year with george floyd. and had hundreds of thousands. we were not going to do anything this year. but andrea said we need to do something around voting.
and we began organizing. we decided not to go to lincoln memorial. but to go where you could see over our heads, the capitol building of the united states. the reason you needed to see that building is because in that building, the senators will decide whether to continue the segregationist legislative strategy of filibuster or whether they're going to give the people of this country the right to vote with no prohibition. that building is the target of our social justice movement. not 58 years ago, but today. the second reason we wanted to come in front of that building, is on january 6, you saw an insurrection against people's right to vote.
today, you saw 20,000 walk through the streets to the capitol to represent dr. king's resurrection of the right to vote. dr. king's resurrection of the right to vote. the insurrection versus the resurrection. no windows broke, nobody harmed. this is how you come to the capital. [applause] we are supposed to be the radicals. we were the peacemakers. we were the ones that had no incidents. we came to the mall in best behavior. we are the real patriarchs, showing america how to be at its best. [applause] secondly, we have met with
senator manchin, with senator graham, with the speaker, the majority leader. this filibuster cannot be the excuse not to reissue the voting rights act as the john lewis voting advancement act. his brother is with us today. we want this act passed and we want them to come out to make sure it comes out majority vote or you can repeal the filibuster. either way, we will not allow you to filibuster to vote. we pay too high a price. people spend nights in jail to give us the right to vote. people lost their lives to give
us the right to vote. mick evans was shot in his driveway with four children inside to give us the right to vote. there is no filibuster that can stand in the way of a people determined to get there rights. that is why we came to watch. we are not going to let you filibuster away our voter protection. [cheers and applause] this is not a law. this is a senate custom. sitting in the back of the bus was a custom. making us drink from the colored water fountain was a custom. making us stand in the gutter while others walked on the curb was a custom. we are the custom breakers. we are the filibuster busters.
president biden met with some of the civil rights leadership and we reminded him -- and i want to say it publicly -- you said the night you won that black america had your back and that you were going to have black america's back. well, mr. president, they are stabbing us in the back. in 49 dates, they have their knives out stabbing us in the back. you need to pick up the phone and call them and tell them if they can carve around the filibuster to confirm supreme court judges for president trump, they can carve around the
filibuster to bring voting rights for president biden. it was that copout that had the supreme court vote 6-3 against the moratorium on evictions. it was that copout. you know how to carve when you want to carve. we are going to stand on you until you get your carving knife out again. when we came out, we said it would be a summer of discontent and it was and it still is. now, we are going to call for action and some folks, congresswoman sheila jackson lee went to jail.
we may decide to pitch a tent and stay right here, all of us. the filibuster busters. we might decide to go into civil disobedience in the fall. we are not going to stop until we protect our right to vote. let me close by this and bring on some people. we all are in mourning and are sensitive to the loss-of-life in afghanistan. those of americans who were there whether we agree with the policies or not, they were there defending us and standing up for us, and those afghans that helped us. how bad is it to bring home
people that you do rescue and they have to go through impediments to vote. how embarrassing is it to bring afghans here and have to tell them the people in the capital of the united states do not have the right to a federal vote that will matter in congress? you cannot bring people to america and not deal with the shame of what you have done to the voting policies here in washington, d.c. we want democracy, but we want democracy in washington, d.c. let's talk out of one side of our mouth. let's act like we have good sense. i heard martin tell a story about his father, and his father
saying he had to go down south and give lyndon johnson some power. i thought of another story, that i have used the last couple of weeks. there was a class, that was an english class, there was a young student that was an expert student, an honor student, and it got to the end of the semester and the teacher said i have one more assignment. i want everybody to write an essay of their pet at home. the honor student shrugged his shoulders. they went home over the weekend, he sat down and worked out his prose and poetry. they came in monday morning, put the papers on the teacher's desk.
she is going to grade them at lunchtime. give them the papers back at the end of the day. she came out, gave everybody their papers, got to him, gave him his paper. everybody looked at their grades and was walking out. he was in shock. for the first time that semester he got and asked -- got an f on his paper. he could hardly move he was so shocked. he finally got up and walked to the front of the class and said -- can i speak to you a minute? she said, sure. she said -- he said i don't understand how you graded my paper. i worked all weekend on my essay, i use the right prose and poetic references. she said it was well written.
he said why did you fail me? she said the problem you have is not that the paper wasn't well written, not that you didn't have the right prose and poetry. the problem you have is three years ago i had your brother and your brother wrote an essay just like this. this time, the young man had to smile. he said, oh, you have it mistaken. you think i am a plagiarist. you think i copied off my brother. he said the problem is my brother and i had the same dog and we wrote about the same dogish ways. i come to washington to tell you the same dogish ways they had in the 1860's, the same dogish ways
they had in 1924, the same dogish ways they had in 1942, the same dogish ways we had to fight, you may have on a suit and tie, but we are fighting the same dogs. we know who you are. our older brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, they dealt with you and we are going to deal with you the same way. stand up and fight back. don't get tired or weary. we can win. we always won. thank you and god bless you. ♪ let me bring to the stage some of our prominent civil rights leaders that joined us in the
fight. i am going to let the buses go in a minute. i know we sent some back. let me bring on the head of -- who has coalesced with us. give a hand to a man who stood up with us even when it was not easy. he is the head of the action committee on reform judaism. [applause] >> we are live at the state department standing by for a
briefing to get underway with secretary of state antony blinken. he is about to take questions about the withdrawal of u.s. military forces from afghanistan. all u.s. military service members are now out of afghanistan. the general thing i can say that with 100% certainty. we are planning to bring you coverage at 6:00 from mississippi. the governor talking about hurricane ida. here is a portion of this morning cost -- this morning's "washington journal. >> "washington journal" continues. host: our nt
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