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King family calls for 'no celebration' of MLK Day

King family urging the Biden administration and Congress to take action on voters-rights legislation
MLK March and events set for Monday
Posted at 2:46 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 07:16:02-05

The family of Martin Luther King Jr. is calling for "no MLK Day celebrations" come Jan. 17. Instead, they are urging the Biden administration and Congress to take action on voters-rights legislation, and asking the public to do the same.

King's family is pushing for President Joe Biden and members of the U.S. Senate to apply the same efforts to federal voting-rights bills as they did to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

The Kings' hope to send a clear message to lawmakers: "You delivered for bridges, now deliver for voting rights."

The Brennan Center for Justice reports that in 2021, 19 states, including Texas, passed 33 laws that'll make it harder for Americans to cast their ballot. Back in October, the Senate blocked the Freedom to Vote Act, a measure that would make Election Day a national holiday

Local attorney Matthew Manning said to commemorate King means to advocate for things such as voters rights.

"I don't think the family is saying 'Don't celebrate our father's legacy,' " he said. "It's saying 'Don't celebrate our father's legacy dishonestly.' Because what he was actually demanding is voting rights."

Local activist Monique Dennis tells KRIS 6 News MLK Day is a time to honor King's achievements for black people and for equality.

"I think this year, they are not saying 'Don't celebrate MLK day,' " she said. "They are saying make sure you understand that there is a mission for the march this year, and the mission is that we need to be focused on these voters rights."

President of the Corpus Christi Alumni Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated Stephenie Rhodes said the King family is calling for everyone to come together and take action toward restoring voter rights to honor King's legacy.

"There is a siege on our democracy," she said. "So, we need to stand up, stand together and let it be known we are not going to take this."

Rhodes said there will be events and a commemorative march on MLK Day in Corpus Christi, and the Kings plan to rally supporters in Phoenix to demonstrate against the state's severe voting laws on Jan. 15. That day would have been King's 93rd birthday.