Join President and Founder Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq. along with Co-Host and Chair Board, Daryl D. Jones, Esq., Every Tuesday from 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Attorney Daryl Jones and I will rotate in asking questions during the show. The questions included below are designed to provide a guide but are not the only possible questions, nor may they be asked in the exact same order.
Monday, January 17, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., Federal Birthday, was marked not as a day of celebration but as a day of demand for passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act! President Biden’s voting rights speech in Atlanta on January 11th supporting filibuster reform in order to move forward voting rights legislation set in motion a series of creative maneuvers in Congress to move forward the two bills, The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act by combining the two bills and having the House of Representatives forward the two bills as a message allowing for a simple majority vote by the Senate to start debate on the bills. However, this process was thwarted, following a speech by Democratic Senator Krysten Sinema refusing to support rules reform, and the COVID-19 illness of some Senators. Therefore a scheduled vote to start debate on this bill was postponed to the King Holiday week.
Our entire show will be devoted to examining the many developments surrounding the push to pass this legislation, particularly the action of activists, including hunger strikers, faith leaders and marchers across the nation.
Last week there was a national day of conscience and resolve in remembrance of the January 6th Insurrection during which our nation’s democracy was imperiled by an attempted coup. Throughout 2021, there was a national assault of undemocratic and disenfranchising voter suppression laws passed on partisan basis in the states. The time has come for the US Senate to do its job by addressing rules reform and passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Our show will highlight the many actions being undertaken by the Transformative Justice Coalition, Black Voters Matters, Faith Leaders, UN-PAC and student Hunger Strikers and many other groups to pressure the Biden Administration and the US Senate to take definitive action this week.
Our distinguished and expert guests will provide special insights into the urgent work that will be undertaken this week and to counteract the destructive anti-Democracy actions of 2021 and to preserve and advance a robust and inclusive multiracial US Democracy. We will be joined by Brennan Center expert Elizabeth Hira and returning guest Kirk Newkirk, noted activist and leader of Arizonans to Abolish the Filibuster.
These are the issues we will cover during this show.
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Please note, during the show there are 3 hard stop commercial breaks at 12:13 PM Eastern Time, 12:28 PM ET and 12:43 PM ET. We will stop all guests from speaking right before each break.
The topic of our show is “The Urgency of Now: This MLK Week, the US Senate to Vote to Pass Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act!” After an entire year marked by voter suppression, election subversion and gerrymandering, this week the US Senate is poised to take decisive action with the intent to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. This will be a week of conscience and confrontation as two Democratic Senators have expressed their opposition to the required rules reform to pass this legislation. In light of this opposition by all the Republican senators and Democratic Senators Sinema and Manchin, many in the national civil rights community and persons of conscience everywhere are taking action to demand senators reverse their stance and support the passage of the legislation when the votes are held this week.
On Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday, there was a major national march on Washington and many local marches held demanding passage of the legislation. That previous weekend, focusing on Senator Sinema, descendants of Dr. King, civil rights leaders and hundreds of supporters marched in Phoenix, Az, demanding that she reverse her opposition and support rules reform and passage of the legislation.
On Tuesday, January 11th, President Biden and Vice-President Harris traveled to Atlanta where the President made a national address on Voting Rights in which he supported filibuster reform. Several civil rights groups boycotted the speech in protest, noting that a speech is insufficient for this critical moment and instead demanding that the President directly use his power to pressure members of the Senate to support rules reform and passage of the voting rights legislation. TJC Co-Leaders Daryl Jones and Barbara Arnwine will traveled to Atlanta to support these efforts.
On Thursday, January 13th, TJC participated in a press conference sponsored by UN-PAC and the 40 hunger striking students, Faith Leaders for Black Lives and other organizations. TJC Co-Leaders Daryl Jones and Barbara Arnwine called upon our national network of activists will show support for the students by joining that day in a One Day Hunger Strike. Our united efforts resulted in hundreds hunger striking that day.
Our show will discuss the 2021 onslaught of voter suppression by state legislatures resulting in 33 disenfranchising laws passed in 19 states and a slew of gerrymandering in several key states, many states are poised to pass more voter suppression laws in these first 2 months of 2022. It is more urgent than ever that the federal government protect voters of color and vulnerable voters against these wrongful measures by state legislatures. The US DOJ is suing Texas and Georgia for violating voting rights but this national wave of voter suppression is too large to be addressed by litigation or organizing alone. Indeed, in the last months of 2021, disturbing articles recounted the purging of Black election officials from boards of election in Georgia. In Michigan, there is a concentrated assault to restrict voting rights. In North Carolina and other states there are major controversies over the extreme partisan gerrymandering. These and other negative voter suppression developments underscore the urgent need for the US Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to mandate federal standards to protect the rights to vote and impose review of voting and electoral legislation, practices and procedures proposed by states and jurisdictions with histories of voter discrimination. And the DC Statehood Admissions bill passed by the U.S. House has also been pending in the Senate for months.
Sadly, on a purely partisan basis, even simple debate on these bills have been blocked in the Senate through the use of the 60 vote requirement of the filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer who has been relentless in pursuing passage of the voting rights legislation and announced he will bring the legislation to the floor for consideration this week.
In the interim, public pressure has been growing to a crescendo for passage of these pending voting rights legislation. The terrible reminders last week of the lingering damage from the January 6th Insurrection, and the many revelations coming from the House Committee on January 6th investigation, are driving a public clamor for action.
Our guests are the leaders of on-going actions in West Virginia, Arizona and nationwide to compel passage of this critically eeded legislation.
Our show is designed to educate our audience on recent developments in this fight for our Democracy and to share opportunities for engagement.
Elizabeth Hira is a Spitzer Fellow and Policy Counsel with the Brennan Center.
Kai Newkirk is the Founder of For All and leader of Arizonans to Abolish the Filibuster.
Yesterday was the MLK Holiday, instead of a celebration this was a day of action throughout the nation demanding passage of the bill, how do you think these actions have impacted the US Senate?
What is the current status of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act?
How will the Senate move to consider the legislation and on what timetable?
Elizabeth, having worked in the Senate on HR 1 which has been the base for this current legislation, please describe the contents of the new Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.
What are your favorite provisions of this Act?
Kai, you have been on the frontlines of this battle in Arizona involving Senator Sinema and most recently in West Virginia involving Senator Manchin, what do you think the impact of the last several days of action will be on their votes this week?
Today UN-PAC and the students, are being joined by several national voting rights and racial justice leaders to conduct civil disobedience actions, as both of you have been working with this groups, what are these actions and how will they affect the vote this week?
Describe the group that will assemble this week?
What do you hope President Biden and Vice President Harris will say and do this week?
How should Senators react to McConnell’s and other efforts to pose different and more narrow “voting” bills?
What do you want our listeners to know are the most important actions in which they can engage right now to help pass the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and DC Statehood?