A group of Black leaders is set to meet privately with President Joe Biden this week in an effort to push the commander-in-chief on getting federal voting rights legislation passed.
"We want them to be more aggressive and public about it –– time is running out," Rev. Al Sharpton said. "While we are procrastinating, states are changing their laws," the National Action Network founder continued. "This is bigger than just a race issue. We're talking about undermining the democracy."
For months, two key pieces of legislation that would secure protection for American voters at the federal level have stalled in Congress. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act would prevent states from changing election laws, and ensure protections for millions of ballots.
Leaders say that while Biden is pushing his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan, little pressure is being applied to Democrats to find a way around the filibuster rule to get the legislation passed.
After claiming victory of Trump last November, Biden said himself he owed the win in large part to the Black voters who turned out to the polls in critical precincts around the country.
Black leaders say that same energy is needed to protect those voters' rights ahead of the looming midterm election season.
"Voting rights needs to be the very next thing we take up," Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia told NBC News. "It needs to be the very next thing. And in fact, we should not go home for recess until we at least have a defined and clear path for how we're going to pass voting rights."
Warnock made history in 2020, becoming the first Black senator to represent Georgia in the state's history. Georgia also flipped blue, after 30 years of giving its electoral votes to a Republican candidate.
But it's also led the wave among dozens of states who passed voting restriction laws following the record turnout –– driven in part by mail-in and early voting access.
The White House has responded to all of this by stating that Democrats will "out organize" Republicans at the local and state levels in order to circumvent the newly imposed voting restrictions. Activists are insulted by the notion.
That way of thinking is a "horrendous strategy" that is "morally and ideologically bankrupt" Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, said. "It's going to lose them both chambers of Congress," he added. "It's insulting to Black voters."