By Ross Murray, Senior Director, GLAAD Media Institute GLAAD.org | August 27, 2021
On Saturday, August 28, GLAAD is teaming up with Headcount, the Anti-Defamation League, the Brennan Center for Justice, Drag Out the Vote, Indivisible, the TransLatin@ Coalition, and dozens of other partners us for March On for Voting Rights, a mass mobilization to demand that elected officials stop hijacking democracy, denounce voter suppression and ensure fair, easy access to the vote for all.
March On, the Drum Major Institute, SEIU, National Action Network, Future Coalition, and a network of partners will march on cities across America to mark the 58th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic March on Washington and demand that his vision be deferred no longer. We invite all Americans who believe in the power of democracy and free elections to join us.
In 2020, millions of voters made their voices heard in federal, state, and local elections around the country, including a surge of first-time LGBTQ voters. In a post-election poll, GLAAD found that 93% of respondents who reported being LGBTQ registered voters said they voted in the 2020 general election. 25% voted for the first time. The impact of the LGBTQ vote was so strong, the Washington Post ran an article with the headline, “Had LGBT voters stayed home, Trump might have won the 2020 presidential election”
That is the power of the LGBTQ voters, when we are mobilized and use our power as a community.
In the months following the 2020 election, we have seen attacks on voting rights across America. Since January, 49 states have introduced over 400 bills that amount to outright voter suppression, and already as of July 2021, 30 states had enacted 18 restrictive voting laws that signal a return to the Jim Crow era.
These laws suppress voting methods that lead to high voter participation and turnout: banning ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting, reducing early voting days and hours, restricting who can get a mail-in ballot, prohibiting officials from promoting the use of of mail-in ballots even when voters qualify, appointing partisan election review boards, even criminalizing the distribution of water to voters waiting in the long lines these laws create.
On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King led 250,000 people on a historic March On Washington. There, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, calling on the nation to rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. His speech that day has become one of the defining moments in American history.
Today, state legislatures are pushing America back to the Jim Crow era. On August 28, 2021—58 years to the day after his father’s march—Martin Luther King III will help to lead Americans on another March to demand federal voting rights protection.
Marching is a form of nonviolent protest, and protest is a form of democratic expression older than America itself. We march to shine the light of truth on what is happening in state legislatures, ensure that Americans understand what’s at stake, and give people a mechanism to demand action on this most urgent issue of our generation.
TAKE ACTION: Flagship marches will be held in Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., with additional marches all over the country. GLAAD will be promoting and amplifying the marches.Sign up to join now. If you are participating in any of the marches, please tag GLAAD in a photo or video on social media, so we can share your experience and perspective.