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Democrats Demand Expansion of Voting Rights in Memory of John Lewis

Democratic lawmakers said Sunday that they don’t want tweets or condolences to honor civil rights icon John Lewis. They want policymakers to get to work to honor the Georgia congressman’s legacy.

Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House majority whip, urged President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to pass legislation that would expand voting rights in Lewis’s name.

“It should be the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020,” Clyburn said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That’s the way to do it. Words may be powerful, but deeds are lasting.”

Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) also echoed this sentiment in interviews on Sunday morning and called for swift passage of the legislation, called the Voting Rights Advancement Act. The House in 2019 passed the legislation, which would restore key protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down in 2013.

Lewis died on Friday night, months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, at a pivotal moment for race relations in the United States. Protesters in cities from coast to coast are demanding widespread reforms in the wake of the May 25 police killing of George Floyd, a black man. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are surging in states nationwide, shedding fresh light on the inequities black Americans encounter in health care.

Clyburn also called for the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., to be renamed in honor of Lewis, a lifelong friend.

The bridge, named after a former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader, became a critical site during the civil rights movement. On Bloody Sunday in 1965, Alabama state troopers beat peaceful demonstrators there, including Lewis, who suffered a fractured skull.

“Edmund Pettus was a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan,” Clyburn said during an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.” “Take his name off that bridge and replace it with a good man, John Lewis, the personification of the goodness of America, rather than to honor someone who disrespected individual freedoms.”

Read entire article at Washington Post