Let’s Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day With Action for Our Democracy and Our Planet

by Ebony Twilley Martin

January 14, 2022

Dr. King’s family, along with faith leaders, civil rights leaders, and voting rights advocates, calls for us to demand voting rights legislation this year—and this is more important than ever for the climate justice community.

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny…We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” — 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. Christmas Sermon

This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we will not have a celebration without legislation.

This MLK Day, we won’t accept empty promises in pursuit of Dr. King’s dream for a more equal America.

This Monday, January 17, 2022, communities across the country will gather to mark MLK Day and to demand that our elected officials pass the Freedom to Vote: John R Lewis Act without letting racist Senate loopholes get in the way.

Dr. King’s family, along with faith leaders, civil rights leaders, and voting rights advocates across the country, has called for us to focus on demanding voting rights legislation and access to the ballot box this year. And this is more important than ever for the climate justice community.

Greenpeace’s Democracy Director Folabi Olagbaju with Long Live Go-Go performing in the background.
Black Voters Matter along with Long Live GoGo, The Live Movement, Greenpeace, ShutDown DC, and other local and national organizations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for a live concert and rally in support of voting rights.

Our democracy should be our best tool for advancing climate solutions, but it has been hijacked by fossil fuel interests, extremist politicians, and corporate greed.

Millions of people, especially Black and Brown communities, are being denied and blocked from participating because of restrictions on voting rights and the corrosive influence of corporate money in politics.

My grandmother, who was born in the Jim Crow South, experienced this same assault on her rights. As those who have come before me, I put my body on the line; together with civil rights, voting rights, and faith leaders, I was arrested in front of the White House to call attention to the freedom to vote and to ensure that all Americans regardless of race or gender have their voices heard.

Ebony Twilley Martin, Greenpeace USA co-Executive Director raises a fist during her arrest at the White House during The No More Excuses: Voting Rights Now! Action. An intergenerational protest in front of the White House to pressure President Biden to fix or nix the filibuster to support voting rights!

The clock is ticking

We only have a few more years left to reduce the power of oil and gas companies, and other corporations polluting our communities and democratic systems, before surpassing climate thresholds and finding ourselves at a catastrophic point of no return. Extremist politicians are actively building barriers to silence our voices, but we will not be silenced.  We will fix our democracy.

The same fossil fuel billionaires who are polluting our air and water, are also polluting our politics. We see them spending millions to push their toxic agendas, elect their allies, and block anyone who disagrees with them from the polls. Black and Brown communities, working families, the disability community, older Americans—not to mention, the health of the planet—suffer the worst consequences.

The attack on our vote is happening now: 34 anti-voter laws have been enacted in 19 different states in 2021 alone. These bills intentionally aim to drown out our voices, because Black and Brown communities voted in record numbers in the last presidential election. In Texas, for example, Republicans passed a bill that targets urban areas and restricts voters’ options, including imposing new hurdles on mail-in ballots, banning drive-up ballot drop-offs, empowering partisan poll watchers, and preventing voter intimidation. In Georgia where I have deep personal roots, the GOP passed an anti-voter law that allows partisan politicians to remove local election officials from their posts. Only federal-level voting rights legislation, like the Freedom to Vote: John R Lewis Act, would do away with these racist anti-voter laws.

We take action today because environmental and racial justice and our democracy are inextricably linked. We can’t have a green and peaceful future without racial justice, equity, civil rights, and  the voices of the people r. That’s why we speak out. That’s why we take action. And that’s why we will continue to do so as long as it takes to create a just and peaceful future for us all.

We need your help to pass the Freedom to Vote Act

We need to send a message to our leaders: no celebration without legislation. Join us for a day of action voting rights, as we honor Dr. King with action.

Attend an event

If you’re in DC, join us for the DC Peace Walk in Washington DC on Monday. 

What: The D.C Peace Walk
When: MLK Day, January 17, 2022. 9 AM EST
Where: Potomac Ave (between First St. SE and S Capitol St. SE) (march route)
The speeches of the DC event will also be live-streamed at  DeliverForVotingRights.com at 12:00 pm ET.

Events across the country are happening this week. Find an event near you, and invite two friends!

find an event

Call your elected officials

Call your Senators today and urge them to support the Freedom to Vote: John R Lewis Act AND demand that President Biden do everything in his power to help overcome the filibuster and pass the Freedom to Vote Act.

make your calls

Sign the petition

No matter our color, party, or zip code, all people should have an equal say in the decisions that shape our future. The future of our democracy should not and cannot be in the hands of corporate polluters and politicians who want to take us back to the Jim Crow era. They’ve made it clear that they do not want us to exercise our freedom to vote and make our voices heard. We can’t let that happen. The stakes are too high for our country and planet.

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Ebony Twilley Martin

By Ebony Twilley Martin

Ebony Twilley Martin is the co-Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. With her passion for justice and equity, Ebony advances the work of Greenpeace USA through outreach, relationship-building, and partnerships to build a domestic and international progressive movement based in peace, sustainability, and social justice.

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