Jackson Lee is third CBC member in three weeks to be arrested protesting for voting rights

Julia Nikhinson

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) on Thursday became the third member of the Congressional Black Caucus in as many weeks to be arrested for civil disobedience to bring attention to Congress’s current partisan deadlock on voting rights.

“Some people want to juxtapose against us that we are angry against the values of this nation,” Jackson Lee said outside of the United Methodist Building.

“So the reason why we’re out here today is to be able to say to you that no one should dismiss civil disobedience as a valid and important aspect of our strength and our power,” she added. 

Jackson Lee was joined by a robust collection of Black female voting rights advocates, including the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Black Women’s Roundtable, National Council of Negro Women and the League of Women Voters.

The coalition gathered outside of the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill on Thursday afternoon before processing over to the Hart Senate Office Building.

Once outside, the congresswoman and advocates spread out in a line, blocking the entrance to the building.

Capitol Police moved quickly, issuing the group three warnings to disperse.

Jackson Lee and others refused to leave, and were taken into custody shortly before 5 p.m.

“We must collectively pass the Voting Rights Act, because my people in Texas are suffering,” Jackson Lee said before being arrested.

“We are here to say that voting rights is [sic] a fundamental constitutional right,” she added.

The congresswoman’s arrest follows the previous arrests of CBC chair Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) and caucus member Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.).

Also present at the protest were three of the Texas state Democrats who have been in Washington, D.C., since leaving a special session of their legislature in Austin earlier in the month to prevent the passage of GOP-backed voting restrictions.

The CBC has brought civil disobedience — an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement — back to the national forefront in recent weeks as the Congress prepares to go on its summer recess without any substantial movement on voting rights.

Tags CBC Congressional Black Caucus Hank Johnson Joyce Beatty Sheila Jackson Lee voting rights

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