Jesse Jackson was arrested while protesting outside of the U.S. Capitol. As multiple news outlets reported, the civil rights activist attended a D.C. demonstration on Wednesday (June 23) that was reportedly organized by the Poor People’s Campaign. The intent was to speak out against the Republican-backed filibuster that prevented the Senate’s debate about a voting rights bill.
“We come not as an insurrection group, but as a resurrection group,” Jackson told the crowd of protesters, adding that “today we must fill up the jails.” He led the group to the Hart Senate Building where they marched and called for the abolition of the filibuster.
Moments later, Capitol officers told them that they were engaging in “illegal demonstration activities,” and took Jackson and 20 other activists, including Rev. William Barber II, into custody for alleged crowding or obstructing.
Ahead of the 2020 election, Democrats introduced the For the People Act, which aims to expand early voting, change laws to reduce money’s influence in politics and set up automatic voter registration among other provisions. Donald Trump’s allegations of widespread voter fraud increased the party’s desire to see the bill become a law; it passed the House back in March. Unfortunately, the act hasn’t yet made its way through the Senate as a conversation about the legislation was blocked by a Republican filibuster.
AS CNBC reported, a vote to discuss the For the People Act ended in a 50-50 split between both parties on Tuesday (June 22). The tally fell short of the 60 votes required to start a debate.
Despite the filibuster, Democrats are still pushing for voting reform. They are now placing their support behind the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would protect individuals against voter suppression and racial discrimination.
“I think it is clear, certainly, for the American people that when we’re talking about the right to vote, it is not a Republican concern or a Democratic concern. It is an American concern. This is about the American people’s right to vote unfettered,” said Vice President Kamala Harris, who presided over the Senate vote. “It is about their access to the right to vote in a meaningful way. Because nobody is debating, I don’t believe, whether all Americans have the right to vote. The issue is the access to the voting process. Or is that being impeded? And the bottom line is that the president and I are very clear: We support S-1. We support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and the fight is not over.”