“We pass the Voting Rights Act because my people in Texas are suffering, my people in Mississippi are suffering, my people in Georgia are suffering,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said moments before Capitol Police arrested her and six others on Thursday (July 30) during a protest for federal voting rights protections.
“We are here to say that voting rights is a fundamental constitutional right. … We will not be moved,” Lee added.
The Texas Democrat is the third member of Congress to be taken away in handcuffs while demonstrating outside of the Hart Senate Office Building. Rep. Joyce Beatty, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia were both arrested with others during demonstrations.
According to The Washington Post, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and other Black women-led organizations have organized the protests in recent weeks in hopes of getting the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act passed.
The legislation, currently being held up in the Senate, would install voter protections for millions across the nation. Voting rights advocates are cautioning that without federal oversight, hundreds of bills introduced after the General Election will block access to the ballot for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and low income voters in the upcoming midterm election.