Several educators and activists were arrested for peacefully protesting at the U.S. Capitol on July 22. Harvard University Professor Cornell William Brooks, Black Voters Matter Co-Founder Cliff Albright and Color of Change President Rashad Robinson were among those who were detained and later released for advocating on behalf of marginalized communities across the nation.
Led by Black Voters Matter, protest efforts began at approximately noon in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Public figures such as Texas Rep. Roy Reynolds, Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson and several others attended as activists and educators expressed their frustration with voter suppression efforts led by lawmakers in Georgia and Texas. Moreover, Albright, Brooks and Robinson called on lawmakers to support the passage of the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
As the day unfolded, police officers began to appear as attendees locked arms and stood near a federal building in downtown Washington, D.C. Eventually, the officers took several protesters including Brooks, Albright, Robinson and Johnson into custody.
"Capitol Police say Rep. Hank Johnson and the others are demonstrating without a permit and blocking the door and will be arrested," Tia Mitchell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted.
A few hours after protesters were detained by local police officers, Albright, Brooks and others were released from custody. However, the damage had already been done. Several bystanders pointed out how local officers responded more swiftly when dealing with voting rights advocates than they did when dealing with rioters on January 6.
"Activists are getting arrested at the Capitol weekly for peaceful protests to protect our voting rights. Cornell W. Brooks and Cliff Albright and several others were arrested today. Meanwhile, Jan 6 happened and well, you saw it," writer and activist Tami Sawyer explained.
Despite being arrested today, Johnson, Brooks, Albright and Robinson remain committed to supporting voter rights moving forward.
"It’s nog about voter fraud. It’s about historic Black voter turnout! Get involved! Call your U.S. Senator," Black Voters Matter insists.