Voting Rights & Jan. 6th: Alabama Advocates Gather At Famous MLK Speech Site

Voting Rights & Jan. 6th Coup Attempt
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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As President Joe Biden and others in Washington, D.C., condemned those who encouraged and participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection, pro-democracy advocates across the country staged vigils to promote voting rights and remember those who died and were injured during the assault on the U.S. Capitol.

In Montgomery, Alabama, a small but energized crowd gathered at the state Capitol, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “How Long, Not Long” speech on March 25, 1965, at the culmination of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march.

Demonstrators held signs reading “Fight poverty, not the poor” and “Votes not violence,” even as rain threatened to cancel the event.

“Over the course of the last year, we’ve seen further assaults on voting rights and elections,” said Kathleen Kirkpatrick, an organizer of the vigil hosted by the Hometown Organizing Project. “We want to preserve democracy and promote calling on elected officials and the White House to protect [voting rights].”

Mike Kane, a resident of Richmond, Virginia, who was in Montgomery visiting famous civil rights sites, said he attended the vigil because it was not only about protecting voting rights but also to recall how the insurrection represented an ongoing attack on democracy.

“Until we defend democracy with voting rights, the insurrection will start to grow and become bolder,” Kane said. “I think what happened last year was a tragic practice session. For some of these militias, I believe they will be back and try harder to end democracy.”

The event concluded with a prayer by the Rev. Carolyn Foster of Greater Birmingham Ministries, asking God to keep our democracy intact and to promote the voting rights of people of color, elderly people and people with disabilities.

As demonstrators departed, many left chanting, “This is what democracy looks like.”

Read more from the vigils.

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