Congressional Black Caucus President Joyce Beatty led the protest inside the U.S. Senate building.
A demonstration of the voting rights of black women leading the United States Capitol has ended with the arrest of the president of the Black Caucus of Congress.
Representative Joyce Beatty was accompanied by dozens of protesters who marched in the U.S. Senate on Thursday to demand approval of federal voting rights legislation.
The small concentration occurred in the middle of a a set of state-level voting laws that civil rights groups say they disproportionately restrict people of color and other groups by limiting voting hours, requiring photo identification to vote, restricting postal voting, and allowing partisan observers to vote.
Police responded when the group gathered in the atrium of the Senate building and began making arrests after some protesters, including Beatty, refused to leave the house.
“Let people vote,” Beatty wrote on Twitter after his release, along with a picture of a Capitol police officer putting on plastic handcuffs. “Fight for Justice.”
– Joyce Beatty (@RepBeatty) July 15, 2021
“We’ve come too far and struggled too much to see everything being systematically dismantled and restricted by those who want to silence us,” Beatty posted in a later post.
It included the hashtag #GoodTrouble, a reference to ex-congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, whose activism led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which sought to combat discriminatory voting practices. Subsequent Supreme Court rulings have reduced the scope of the legislation.
Representative Beatty was arrested for fighting for voter rights, but there are members of Congress who participated in the Jan. 6 insurgency who still roam Congress halls. #DoubleStandards https://t.co/aEfzlHizKZ
– Adrienne Bell (@AdrBell) July 15, 2021
Meanwhile, pressure has grown for the Senate to pass the People’s Act, a federal piece of legislation that seeks to expand access to the vote and ban party obligations. The House, where U.S. President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party has a tenuous majority, passed the bill in March, but Republicans have used the legislative hurdle known as filibuster to block its passage into the Senate. .
Tuesday, Biden he called state-level voting laws “a new wave of voter suppression and a crude and sustained electoral subversion.”
Biden also asked Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights Act.