MLK Day: No Celebration Without Legislation

by Valentina Stackl

January 17, 2022

January 17, 2022- Washington DC and Dallas, Texas. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022, Dr. King’s family–along with faith leaders, civil rights leaders, and voting rights advocates across the country–have called for us to focus on demanding voting rights legislation and access to the ballot box this year. 

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. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the most powerful institutions in Washington and its opposition to H.R. 1, one of the most important democracy reform bills in a generation, threatens to exacerbate an already-dire voting rights crisis. Speakers at Thursday's event will call on the Chamber to get out of the way of voting rights reform and allow federal lawmakers to do the peoples' business.

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

Greenpeace USA Co-Executive Director Ebony Twilley Martin  said: 

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day for action for our democracy and our planet. 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 blocked from participating because of restrictions on voting rights and the corroding influence of corporate money in politics.

“We only have a handful of years left to reduce the power of fossil fuel companies and other corporations polluting our communities and democratic systems before rocketing past climate thresholds and finding ourselves at a catastrophic point of no return–unless we first fix our broken democracy. But extremist politicians are busy putting up barriers to silence our voices based on what we look like or where we live.

“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. Our leaders must restore and protect our freedom to vote by passing the Freedom to Vote: John R Lewis Act, which will help us take a step forward to achieving a democracy that is truly representative and responsive to the American people. ”

Dallas, Texas event:

Today, Greenpeace USA is also participating in a protest in front of the AT&T headquarters in Dallas,Texas together with local organization Next Generation Action Network.

AT&T is one of the worst culprits when it comes to voter suppression. According to Greenpeace analysis in Dollars vs. Democracy: Companies and the Attack on Voting Rights and Peaceful Protest AT&T is the #1 contributor to legislators sponsoring racist anti-voter suppression bills.

Folabi Olagbaju, Greenpeace USA Democracy Campaign Director said: 

“Corporations have a moral responsibility and a key role to play in upholding democratic practices and policies. Unfortunately, AT&T does not see this as a good business practice. In Texas, AT&T contributed $100,000 to Gov Abbot’s PAC the same day he called a special session to pass the most draconian voter suppression bill in the country. AT&T also gave thousands of dollars in PAC money to Texas lawmakers after they voted for voter suppression bill SB7, which has been described as “the largest step-back since Jim Crow. We simply cannot go back to that. We must strengthen our democracy so that everyone’s voice is heard—no exceptions.”

“We are calling on AT&T to stop funding politicians who sponsor legislation designed to disenfranchise voters and silence protest—and instead support solutions for our democracy like the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.

“We are calling on our leaders to restore and protect our freedom to vote by passing the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. This bill will establish a national standard to protect voting rights and help us take a step forward to achieving a democracy that is truly representative and responsive to the American people.”

The Next Generation Action Network will be honoring Dr. King’s legacy by showing up at the AT&T Discovery Garden on today, and demand AT&T stop wrecking our voting rights, and instead endorse federal voting rights legislation like the Freedom to Vote: John R Lewis Act.

When: Monday, January 17, 2022
Where: AT&T Discovery District, 208 S. Akard St. Dallas TX 75202
Time: 12:00 CST (noon)


Contact: Valentina Stackl, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, [email protected], (734) 276 6260

Valentina Stackl

By Valentina Stackl

Valentina Stackl is a multi-lingual and multi-cultural communications specialist and storyteller. As Senior Communications Officer, Valentina works on Democracy (including criminalization of protest) and Climate for media, storytelling, and other communications projects.

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