As the nation reflects on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Issue One CEO and Founder Nick Penniman released the following statement:
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to the pursuit of a more perfect union. Today, and always, our nation honors his work and the unfinished struggle that remains. As the United State Senate considers landmark legislation to protect every American’s freedom to vote, and to limit the rigging of Congress by big money and gerrymandering, the best way to respect Dr. King’s legacy and carry on his work is to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.
“We are living through a defining moment in our country’s history, and the history of democracy. In our lifetimes, the stakes for freedom and self-governance have never been higher. State legislatures across the country are passing laws designed to make it harder for certain Americans to vote. Partisan extremists are taking over elections in ways that could subvert the will of the people. And, for far too long, both parties have been beholden to special interests and reliant on gerrymandering to keep power. These distortions of our system disproportionately affect communities of color, deepen inequality, and undermine Congress’ ability to solve problems.
“It is time we seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a giant step toward a more inclusive democracy that works for everyone, not the privileged few. Congress must act to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, rightly named in the honor of another of America’s most ardent voices for freedom.
“In Dr. King’s own time, people — even well-meaning ones — derided his peaceful quest for racial and economic justice as a dream too big to be achieved. Today, many will invoke Dr. King’s memory while simultaneously fighting tooth and nail to maintain the rigged system. Americans across the political spectrum must reject such cynical politics. Now it’s time for members of the Senate to do the same and pass the bill.”