Faith leaders are launching a hunger strike on Jan. 6 — the one-year anniversary of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — in an effort to push lawmakers to pass federal legislation to protect the vote.
Twenty-five faith leaders, largely Christian reverends, from across the country will go without food, urging Congress to pass voting rights legislation by Jan. 17 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Inspired by the ‘big lie,’ the violent insurrection on January 6, 2021 was an attempt to overturn democratic rule in the United States,” said the release from the faith leaders, which include Rev. Cornell Brooks, Harvard professor and former president of the NAACP. They note that “this attempt continues across the nation” with over a dozen states passing laws impacting access to the vote, “specifically targeting communities of color.”
Exactly one year ago, an armed mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were gathered to conduct the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which President Joe Biden won over his predecessor Donald Trump. Before the riot, Trump incited a crowd at a rally claiming the election had been stolen. Five people died in the ensuing mayhem, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Meanwhile, Republicans in state legislatures across the country have been pushing hundreds of bills at the state level that would restrict voting. Such efforts have already become law in several states, including Georgia, Texas, Arkansas and Arizona.
At the federal level, Republicans have repeatedly blocked voting rights legislation from passing in the Senate. The Freedom to Vote Act, for instance, would require mail-in voting and automatic and same-day voter registration, and would ban partisan gerrymandering and undisclosed “dark money” in elections.
In a letter last month to congressional colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the Senate would consider voting rights legislation “shortly after the 117th Congress resumes in January.”
Voter restrictions disproportionately keep low-income voters, young people and Black and Latinx voters from the ballot.