The law enforcement agency at the center of the Jan. 6 insurrection also arrested the Rev. William Barber during a planned protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court building one day after Senate Republicans used a filibuster to block legislation that would have overhauled election laws and greatly benefitted Black voters, in particular.
Barber and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of The Poor People’s Campaign, organized the protest against the filibuster — which has its roots in racism — and planned to try to meet with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, moderate Democrat who threatened to vote against the For The People Act before he ultimately supported it on Tuesday.
But Barber, Theoharis and Jackson never got the chance to meet with the Senators, being detained and arrested before they could enter the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.
The Religion News Service reported that Jackson suggested he was prepared to be arrested before he was taken into custody.
“We come not as an insurrection group, but as a resurrection group,” Jackson, who in 2017 announced he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, said Wednesday. “Today we must fill up the jails.”
Barber suggested there would be more protests like the one on Wednesday.
“It took this to win it, it’s going to take this to keep it,” he said.
One day earlier, Barber said in a press release ahead of the protest that blocking the For The People Act is unconstitutional.
“The For the People Act is only necessary because of extremist Republican politicians who have attempted to deny and abridge the right to vote of Americans with whom they disagree. The Voting Rights Act should have been restored June 26, 2013, the day after it was wrongfully gutted by the five members of the Supreme Court,” Barber said. “Neither Manchin nor McConnell have done a thing over the last eight years to fix the Voting Rights Act. Lastly, the components that Manchin wants removed from the For the People Act are the very things that make it strong. The only thing he wants to add – photo ID – not only weakens the measure but curtails the right to vote. His addition undermines court battles that civil rights lawyers are fighting right now.”
Jackson’s civil rights activism is rooted in demonstrating against restrictive voting rights. That includes everything from marching alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and the late John Lewis in the Selma marches for Black people’s voting rights in 1965 to personally escorting five new voting machines into a polling place during the 2018 midterm elections in Georgia amid widespread reports of voter suppression.
This is America.