FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2021
Reps. Joyce Beatty, Terri Sewell, Mondaire Jones, Sheila Jackson Lee and More to Speak at March On for Washington and Voting Rights
Civil Rights Leaders, Elected Officials, Youth Advocates and Community Organizers to Deliver Resounding Call for Senate Action on Voting Rights and D.C. Statehood
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, March On for Washington and Voting Rights announced the initial lineup of speakers who will join Martin Luther King III, Rev. Al Sharpton and Arndrea Waters Kings on the National Mall on Saturday, August 28, the anniversary of the 1963 March On Washington. Following the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the House, elected officials including the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Joyce Beatty, Rep. Terri Sewell, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. Mondaire Jones will take the stage to make urgent pleas to their colleagues on the Hill to pass federal voting rights legislation. They will be joined by civil rights, racial justice and labor leaders, including Philonise Floyd, Attorney Ben Crump, Randi Weingarten and Lee Saunders, among others.
“We will make history on Saturday as our honorable speakers and marchers carry the torch for justice my father and so many others carried across the National Mall in 1963,” said Martin Luther King III, Chairman of the Drum Major Institute. “With the Capitol behind us, you will hear these speakers make emotional pleas for Congress to secure our democracy. You will also hear impassioned chants for D.C. statehood, because our generational fight for voting and civil rights is not complete until the mostly Black and Brown residents of D.C. have voting representation in Congress.”
“I’m proud of the leaders we’ve gathered together to call for voting rights on Saturday — they are continuing the struggle to realize Dr. King’s dream of equality,” said Arndrea Waters King, President of the Drum Major Institute. “We won’t stop organizing, mobilizing and marching until Congress stops choosing the Jim Crow filibuster over our right to vote”
“I am honored that members of the Congressional Black Caucus, major national civil rights leaders and labor leaders will join Martin and me to not only keep the dream alive but to deal with the current and immediate threat to our voting rights by focusing on the Senate’s need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. We are not commemorating what did happen as much as we are pinpointing what must happen now. And these arrays of prominent people joining us strengthens our ability to do that.” said Reverend Al Sharpton, President and Founder of National Action Network (NAN)
Starting at 8am EDT, marchers will gather in McPherson Square to march along Black Lives Matter Plaza toward the National Mall, where the speaker program will begin at noon EDT and be livestreamed on National Action Network’s website. With the backdrop of the United States Capitol behind them, leaders, performers and marchers will make their voices heard, center the fight for D.C. statehood, and demand Congressional action to protect our right to vote.
Please find an initial list of speakers here:
Martin Luther King III, Drum Major Institute Chairman
Arndrea Waters King, Drum Major Institute President
Yolanda Renee King, Young Activist and Granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.
Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network President
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH)
Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY)
Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser
Derrick Johnson, NAACP President
Congressman John Lewis’ family
Philonise Floyd, activist and brother of George Floyd
Ben Crump, attorney representing the Floyd family
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers President
Lee Saunders, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees President
Jamal Holtz, 51 for 51 Lead Organizer
Demi Stratmon, 51 for 51 Lead Organizer
*More speakers to be announced*
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About March On For Washington and Voting Rights
March On for Washington and Voting Rights is a mass mobilization to demand that elected officials protect democracy, denounce voter suppression, make D.C. a state, and ensure fair, easy access to the vote. On August 28, the 58th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, we will march on cities across America to demand that the vision of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech be deferred no longer. That means passing the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. The march is led by Drum Major Institute, March On, the National Action Network, Future Coalition, SEIU, and 51 for 51, and is joined by over 140 other partners. The march is funded through the #ForJohn campaign, a grassroots effort co-founded by Martin Luther King III and Arndrea King to fight voter suppression.
About National Action Network
National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression, or sexuality. For more information, visit https://nationalactionnetwork.net/
About the Drum Major Institute
The Drum Major Institute advances the core mission of our founder, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to assure that the arc of the moral universe continues to bend toward justice. Dr. King’s legacy and voice are as important today as they were upon our founding 60 years ago. To meet this historic moment, we are lending our unique ability to facilitate dialogue and collaboration to support the countless courageous acts of individuals and organizations across the nation and the world to ensure that the vital conversations that are now starting will sustain and advance far beyond this moment in time—and lead to tangible lasting outcomes. We encourage all people to embrace their role in the King legacy, take action in their community and strive to build the Beloved Community. Learn more at https://drummajorinst.org.
About March On
March On is a political organization composed of women-led political activist groups that grew out of the women’s marches of January 21, 2017. They have come together as a united force to take concrete, coordinated actions at the federal, state and local levels to impact elections and move the country in a progressive direction. For more information, visit https://wearemarchon.org.
Service Employees International Union is an organization of 2 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide, and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. For more information, visit https://www.seiu.org/.
About 51 for 51
51 for 51 is a coalition of D.C.-based and national groups committed to equal representation for the over 700,000 D.C. residents who remain locked out of our democracy. The coalition of 20 progressive groups believe American citizens living in the District deserve a voice in Congress and control over their own local laws. Already, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Senators Warren, Markey, Gillibrand and Hickenlooper have endorsed 51 for 51’s proposed path to statehood.
About Future Coalition
Founded by youth activists for youth activists, Future Coalition is a network and community for youth-led organizations and Gen Z and young millennial leaders from across the country that came into being as a project of March On in the fall of 2018. Future Coalition works collaboratively to provide young people with the resources, tools, and support they need to create the change they want to see in their communities and in this country. For more information, visit https://futurecoalition.org.