Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are standing in the eye of a vicious voting rights storm. Their refusal to end the filibuster and help advance federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has made them the target of several members within their own political party and voting rights advocacy groups.
On the ground, the push to persuade Manchin and Sinema to change their minds is being led by organizations like The Poor People’s Campaign, which Is led by Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis. The Poor People’s Campaign has recently embarked on what they’re calling “a season of nonviolent direct action to save our democracy.”
Since July 12, the group has held a sit-in at the Phoenix office of Sen. Sinema, where Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Barber and others were arrested. They held a four-day, 27-mile “Moral March for Democracy” from Georgetown to the Statehouse in Austin, Texas. And earlier this month, hundreds of clergy and low-wage workers were arrested alongside Rev. Jackson, Rev. Barber and other protestors from The Poor People’s Campaign in front of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Each time, their demands have been clear: end the filibuster, pass all provisions of the For The People Act, restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour. On Thursday (Aug. 26), the group’s West Virginia chapter will host a “Mass Moral Motorcade on Manchin” to demand the West Virginia Senator “stop hiding behind the ‘coward’s filibuster’ and do what’s right for our country,” a press release reads.
“It’s time for Sen. Manchin to be a man and a statesman and do right by poor and low-income West Virginians and end [the] coward filibuster so the Senate can pass voting rights protections; pass $15/hour and go down in history on the side of the legacy of the miners at Blair Mountain and the side of the Constitution and justice,” Barber stated in the press release.
At least 151 cars are slated to travel through three counties — Boone, Lincoln and Kanawha — before stopping at Sen. Manchin’s office in Charleston and then proceeding to the Statehouse. The Poor People’s Campaign said a hearse, signifying how Sen. Manchin has used the filibuster to bury bills to expand and protect voting rights, will lead the motorcade. A rally will also be held at the Statehouse where most people will remain in their vehicles to hear from Rev. Barber, Rev. Theoharis, mine workers, union leaders and voting rights lawyers. The event will be live-streamed via The Poor People’s Campaign website.
40% of ppl in #WestVirginia are poor or low-income—a total of 710K residents: 50% of children (187K), 44% of women (402K), 51% of Black ppl (30K), 55% of Latinx ppl (13K), & 42% of white ppl (689K). #PoorPeoplesCampaign— Poor People's Campaign (@UniteThePoor) August 20, 2021
Moral Motorcade on Manchin 8/26: https://t.co/VgBPd4lhVN pic.twitter.com/Ja2GoQiQ5a