The family of Martin Luther King, Jr. is calling for a "no celebration" of the January federal holiday named in his honor without action by lawmakers and Joe Biden on federal voting rights legislation.
Martin Luther King III, his wife Arndrea Waters King and their daughter Yolanda Renee King have plans to mobilize activists over MLK weekend next year to push Biden and Congress on passing two key pieces of legislation that would secure voting rights for millions.
Black leaders this week are meeting privately with the President to get him to put the same energy behind voting rights as he is the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan.
"President Biden and Congress used their political muscle to deliver a vital infrastructure deal and now we are calling on them to do the same to restore the very voting rights protections my father and countless other civil rights leaders bled to secure," Martin Luther King III said in a statement Wednesday (December 15).
The family, he added, "will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father's dream for a more equal and just America."
Arndrea Waters King said that MLK Day is typically used as a day of action and service and there's "no better way to observe the King holiday" than to push for democracy and rights for others.
So far, the King family has scheduled a voting rights rally in Phoenix on January 15 –– MLK's birthday –– "to restore and expand voting rights to honor Dr. King's legacy."
Arizona was a highly contested state during the November 2020 election, and is one of dozens of states who passed voting restriction laws within the last year.
Leaders and activists will march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C. on January 17 –– the federal holiday observing King's birthday.
A march across a bridge in Arizona is also being planned for that weekend, drawing comparisons between the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama for Black Americans' right to vote.