Democratic Representative Hank Johnson (GA-04) said he was “getting into good trouble” like his mentor, the late Congressman John Lewis, when he was arrested in a Thursday protest over voting rights on Capitol Hill.
The 66-year-old congressman was participating in the Black Voters Matter’s “Brothers Day of Action” protest outside the Hart Senate Building with other black men who called on Congress to end the filibuster and pass the “For the People Act”.
Johnson gave a speech to the “Brothers of Action” about the legislation outside the Supreme Court before they marched to the Hart Building where they chanted, “Whose streets? Our streets. Whose House? Our House.”
“Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) was arrested along with a group of Black male voting rights activists protesting against Senate inaction on voting rights legislation and filibuster reform. In the spirit of his dear friend and mentor – the late Congressman John Lewis – Rep. Johnson was getting in ‘good trouble’ fighting for and protecting civil and voting rights for all Americans,” his office said in a statement, according to USA Today.
The Congressman later tweeted echoing that same sentiment and posted a video of his arrest on Twitter.
.@BlackCaucus I was arrested today protesting against Senate inaction on voting rights legislation & filibuster reform. In the spirit of my dear friend and mentor – the late Congressman John Lewis – I was getting in #goodtrouble pic.twitter.com/JjN51mRpaC
— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) July 22, 2021
“It was worth the risk to use our power to demand voting rights protections for Black people, and all communities, in our country, the congressman reportedly said, “more than six months into this administration, we’ve yet to see real, meaningful action on voting rights.'”
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus including Democratic Reps. Al Green, Jamaal Bowman, Emanuel Cleaver, Troy Carter, and Jackson Lee were also in attendance.
Nine participants in the protest were arrested, notably including the co-founder of Black Voters Matter Cliff Albright, The Rev. Mark Thompson, host of podcast Make It Plain, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson, and former President of the NAACP Cornell William Brooks.
Those arrested were taken in for “unlawfully demonstrating” and charged with crowding, obstructing or causing an inconvenience according to Eva Malecki, the Capitol Police communications director’s comment to USA Today.
Rep. Johnson’s arrest comes just one week after Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio was arrested along with eight other protestors outside the Hart Building for “illegal demonstration activity”.
“I stand in solidarity with Black women and allies across the country in defense of our constitutional right to vote. We have come too far and fought too hard to see everything systematically dismantled and restricted by those who wish to silence us,” Beatty said in a statement following her arrest.
— Joyce Beatty (@RepBeatty) July 15, 2021
Democrats maintain that Senate Republican opposition to the “For the People Act” and the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act” represents an attack on the rights of minority voters. The “For the People Act” would expand voting rights, ban partisan gerrymandering, make voting easier, and target political donations for transparency.
Republicans, however, want to mandate voter ID to prevent future voter fraud, not to marginalize minorities.
If the 800-page bill were to pass, it would impede the ability of states to determine voter eligibility because they would be barred from using any voter ID requirements and from requiring witness signatures on absentee ballots. The bill would also allow online voter registration — a frightening notion considering the current reputation of American cybersecurity following multiple supply chain hacks by foreign criminals.
For his part, President Biden is calling on Congress to pass the “For the People Act” that Senate Republicans blocked in June. Future passage would require a 60 vote majority which looks unlikely at this point in time.
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