Washington, D.C. – The New Freedom Ride for Voting Rights bus tour, sponsored by Black Voters Matter with People For the American Way and other national partners, arrived in Washington, D.C. today after a week-long journey, to join a rally with hundreds of participants on the National Mall. Starting on Juneteenth, the “Blackest Bus in America” made stops in seven cities throughout the South to raise awareness about attacks on voting rights and demand federal action.
Activists on the bus are demanding passage of the For the People Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and legislation for D.C. statehood. The New Freedom Ride recalls the original Freedom Rides that began 60 years ago, when civil rights activists rode interstate buses to demand an end to racist segregation.
The tour’s arrival in D.C. follows a procedural vote in which Senate Republicans blocked debate on the For the People Act with a filibuster. Advocates note that the filibuster is being used to deny rights to Black and brown Americans today, just as it was in the Jim Crow era.
“This is just the beginning of our fight for voting rights,” People For the American Way Senior Director of Field Mobilization Diallo Brooks said at the rally. “We are standing on the shoulders of the great civil rights activists who took those first Freedom Rides 60 years ago. And like them, we will not give up until we reach our goal.”
Deputy Director of People For the American Way’s Young Elected Officials Network, Markus Batchelor, was on board the bus for the entire tour. He documented his ride here: www.pfaw.org/campaign/live-updates-from-the-2021-freedom-ride/
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to join the New Freedom Ride for Voting Rights,” Markus Batchelor said. “I stand as a beneficiary of those first battles of the civil rights movement, and the fight for voting rights. That fight can’t be in vain. We owe it to all the courageous advocates who came before us to defend the Black vote today like they did 60 years ago.”
The tour made stops in Jackson, MS; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; Columbia, SC; Raleigh, NC; Charleston, WV; and Richmond, VA, before coming to DC.
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.