Washington, DC— Today, nearly 300 clergy and faith leaders sent a joint letter to the U.S. Senate, calling on senators to do whatever it takes to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. The letter was created and delivered by People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action and comes as the Senate takes up debate on the bill.
Click here to read the letter in full and see a list of signers.
The letter states, in part: “As voting rights advocates, we feel the urgency of the moment. Many of us have taken to the streets, risked arrest, made calls and visits, signed petitions, joined hunger strikes, prayed without ceasing for you to seize this historic moment and secure passage of legislation that will protect our people’s right to vote – a fundamental right far more important to our democracy than the current version of the Senate’s filibuster rules. We see this vote as nothing less than our elected representatives being on the right side of history by doing whatever it takes to get voting rights legislation passed and placed on the president’s desk.”
“Black churches have always played a leading role in the struggle for civil rights and voting rights, and this time is no different,” said Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way. “Black faith leaders are calling on the Senate in this moment of historic urgency, as we see Black and brown voters’ rights at risk across the country. Protecting the right to vote is a question of right and wrong, and senators who consult their moral compass will know how they must act in this moment.”
“Yesterday we marked the birthday of the great Dr. King, and today we are acting in his name and his memory to demand the Senate protect and restore voting rights,” said Rev. Leslie Watson Wilson, director of People For’s African American Religious Affairs network and its African American Ministers in Action. “The faith leaders who have signed this letter are from all over the country. They include young leaders as well as longtime veterans of the civil rights movement, speaking with one voice, calling on the Senate to ensure all Americans have the freedom to vote. And we believe the Senate is listening.”
Members of the African American Ministers in Action took part in People For’s months-long series of civil disobedience actions at the White House in the fall of 2021, calling for voting rights legislation to be passed. Over the course of five separate actions, People For, along with the League of Women Voters and the Declaration for American Democracy, led faith leaders, labor leaders, students, women’s advocates, LGBTQ rights advocates, elected officials and hundreds of grassroots activists in demonstrations at which nearly 300 people were arrested.
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: https://www.pfaw.org.