Honoring Dr. King and Fighting For a Stronger Democracy

As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr today, it is clear that so much of what he fought for remains unfulfilled today in 2023. We continue the fight for full and equitable voting rights and a strong and healthy democracy, because without it, we cannot hope to combat the climate crisis and address environmental injustices across the country.

In the chaos in Congress of the past couple weeks, we see what happens when democracy breaks down. The utter dysfunction caused by a small minority of extremely loud voices -- bought and paid for by big money -- have sowed chaos, obstruction, and disorder. Those peddling and enabling criminal conspiracies have refused to accept the will of the voters that led to the January 6th attack on our democracy. Dr. King stated in the same Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”1 This erosion of American democracy has been tolerated for too long.

Such recent events are the opposite of what Dr. King sought -- a fair, multi-racial democracy where everyday Americans can cast their ballot unimpeded and without fear for candidates they believe have their principles and values in mind.

On this anniversary, we cannot forget and lose sight of that dream, and we must continue urging Congress and President Biden to strengthen voting rights and our democracy.

Help commemorate Dr. King’s birthday by urging Congress and President Biden to strengthen our democracy. 

The majority of Americans want a strong democracy and equal representation for all, clean air, water, a stable climate, and to preserve our environment for future generations. White supremacy and profits are driving big polluters and their political allies to use partisan gerrymandering, money in politics, and voter suppression to silence the voices of the majority. In addition, corporations and their executives are spending millions to stack our courts, tipping the balance of our judicial system to benefit corporations and a handful of billionaires over the people.

These big polluters have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past few decades on misleading ads, political races, and lobbying, slowing down the progress we have been able to make to combat the climate crisis and in our pursuit of an equitable and fair democracy. Right now, there are numerous things Congress and President Biden can and should do to strengthen our democracy, including confirming as many judges as possible to fill all vacant seats in our Federal Judiciary system. Send them a message and remind them that on the day we remember Martin Luther King, Jr, we have an opportunity to make his dream a reality.

While it may seem bleak, there are reasons to be hopeful, despite the obstacles we face. Throughout last year, we asked you to contact Congress to protect democracy, and in the final weeks of 2022 we had a major win. Congress passed much-needed reforms to the Electoral Count Act which should prevent future attempts to thwart the transition of power like we saw on January 6th. Over five hundred Sierra Club activists like you raised your hands to protect voters while they tried to cast their ballot. In addition, over the past two years the Senate confirmed 97 judges to lifetime seats.

More than fifty years ago, Dr. King, John Lewis, and hundreds of thousands of others marched, organized, and worked for decades to secure victories like the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. With the same kinds of broad-based movements, we will be able to protect our democracy and our environment. Our fights are woven together, and only together we can fight back against the people who want to divide us and pollute our air, water and communities.

Send your message today, and make sure you send a personal note about why these issues matter to you.

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