Some of the nation’s leading Black male leaders recently demonstrated against the U.S. Senate’s lethargic approach to passing legislation protecting the right of Americans to cast a ballot unfettered.
On July 22, Black Voters Matter co-founder Cliff Albright led a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building to highlight the hundreds of voter suppression legislation in state legislatures as well as the Senate’s stalling on voting for two bills: The For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Black female leaders, including Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, were arrested on July 14 at the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill protesting the Senate’s inaction on the voting rights bills and Albright said Black men should take action, too.
“We want to make sure our voices are heard on voting rights matters,” Albright said. “We haven’t had this level of attack against voting since the Reconstruction era and during the civil rights movement. This is Jim Crow 2.0. Brothers got something to say about this.”
While the Democrats control the Senate, the For the People and John Lewis bills haven’t reached the Senate floor because of that chamber’s filibuster rules. Unless legislation has 60 votes to move forward in the Senate, it remains idle. Albright, his congressional allies and leaders of civil and human rights organizations have called for the filibuster to be eliminated so a vote can take place.
Dr. Wes Bellamy, the former vice mayor of Charlottesville, Va., and the national co-chair of Our Black Party, echoed Albright’s call.
“Our brothers are making a very bold proclamation,” Bellamy said. “Brothers are standing up for voting rights. We will not back down from this fight.”
Two Black male state representatives from Texas — Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City) and Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston) — spoke about fighting their governor Greg Abbott and Republican legislative leaders on enacting voter suppression laws.
“The sisters have been phenomenal,” Reynolds said. “But we need to hear from the brothers. We must speak truth to power. We must speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. As John Lewis once said ‘we must make good trouble’”.
Johnson said some Americans are hypocritical.  When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the singing of the national anthem to protest police brutality, Johnson noted, they labeled him unpatriotic but cheered when insurrectionists attempted to take over the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to stop the official certification of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
“These insurrectionists were called patriots by some people,” Johnson said. “They are crazy.”
After speaking in front of the Supreme Court building, 15 of the male leaders marched one block north to the Hart Senate Office Building to be arrested. Among those arrested were Albright, the Rev. Mark Thompson, D.C. statehood activist Ty Hobson-Powell, former NAACP president Cornell William Brooks, Color of Change president Rashad Robinson, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and voting rights activist W. Mondale Robinson.
LaTosha Brown, who co-founded Black Voters Matter with Albright, expressed satisfaction that Black men are engaged in the voting rights fight.
“We need everyone to be involved and our men will definitely make a difference,” Brown said.

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *