Updated Jul 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Fight for voting rights ramps up on one-year anniversary of John Lewis' death

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) speaks during a press conference about voting rights on Capitol Hill December 6, 2019

Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AF

The fight for voting rights ramped up this week, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the death of Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights activist who fought for equal voting rights throughout his life.

Driving the news: Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was arrested Thursday along with eight people in a voting rights demonstration in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Texas Democrats fled the state this week in an attempt to block Republicans from passing new voting restrictions.

  • Twenty Black women organizers met with Vice President Harris on Friday to discuss their concerns about voting restrictions nationwide and the need for support from the White House, CNN reports.

What they're saying: Harris and civil rights leaders say Lewis' life should serve as an example of how to promote legislation that expands voting access, per CNN.

  • "As we mourn his loss, we reflect on the legacy of an American hero," Harris said in a statement Saturday.
  • "Congressman Lewis fought tirelessly for our country’s highest ideals: freedom and justice for all, and for the right of every American to make their voice heard at the ballot box," Harris said.
  1. "I again call on Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act so I can sign them into law," President Biden said in a statement on Saturday. "With John’s spirit guiding us, we must be unafraid and never, ever give up."
  • "He struggled with the same process, the same issues, but he never gave up, he never gave in," civil rights leader Andrew Young told CNN. "He never got angry."

Go deeper: Civil rights giant Rep. John Lewis dies at 80

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