Progressive Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) was arrested alongside over two dozen other activists outside the U.S. Capitol as they protested for voting rights just a day after senators failed to pass key voting rights legislation.
Many of the young people and faith leaders had been on a hunger strike, some for over a week, others since Jan. 6, demanding federal voting rights legislation. Youth activists ended their strike on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Republicans in the Senate filibustered sweeping voting rights legislation, the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.
In a subsequent vote, Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), voted against their Democratic colleagues’ efforts to change filibuster rules in order to pass legislation with a simple majority, effectively blocking the voting rights legislation from passing.
The young activists, organized by youth political group Un-PAC, said in a release that they “will not forget which of our Senators stood up for democracy, and which stood aside as it crumbled.”
A spokesperson for Bowman’s office said in a statement that they would provide further updates on the lawmaker’s arrest “as we gather them.”
Earlier this week, other activists were also arrested while demonstrating at the U.S. Capitol, demanding lawmakers pass voting rights legislation — including several Black reverends and LaTosha Brown, the co-founder of Black Voters Matter.
Voter restrictions disproportionately keep low-income voters, young people and Black and Latinx voters from the ballot.
Republicans have repeatedly blocked voting rights legislation in the Senate. At the state level, hundreds of Republican-led measures have advanced to restrict access to the vote, and some have already become law in several states, including Georgia, Texas, Arkansas and Arizona.