Five years ago today, I read Coretta Scott King’s letter on the Senate floor. Mitch McConnell tried to shut me up, but I kept at it.
Today, I’m reflecting on that moment, what it became, and what a whole lot of powerful, loud “persisting” can get done. In the years after Trump was elected, you rose up, you found your voices, and then you refused to be silenced, too.
Your persistence paid off. We got Trump out of office, flipped the House and the Senate, elected progressive women and people of color up and down the ballot, and passed historic, life-changing legislation: $1.9 trillion in pandemic aid, a child tax credit that lifted 3 million kids out of poverty, and a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that will be transformative for communities across the country.
Still, we’ve faced tough losses, and have even tougher fights ahead of us: voting rights, child care, student loan cancelation, and climate change legislation — plus, critical races in the 2022 midterms. But if we’ve learned anything over the past 5 years, it’s that these wins don’t come easy. And I’m not stopping any time soon.
Which brings me back to where it all started: the words of Coretta Scott King — even more relevant today, as we face countless attacks to our democracy:
“Free exercise of voting rights is so fundamental to American democracy that we cannot tolerate any form of infringement of those rights. Of all the groups who have been disenfranchised in our nation’s history, none has struggled longer or suffered more in the attempt to win the vote than black citizens. No group has had access to the ballot box denied so persistently and intently…If we are going to make our timeless dream of justice through democracy a reality, we must take every step possible to ensure that the spirit and intent of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 15th Amendment to the Constitution is honored.”
I’m still carrying these words with me, especially after all 50 Republican Senators lined up against the voting rights legislation that Democrats brought to the Senate floor.
Here’s the thing: we may have lost, but that fight was still worth having, because every single Republican senator is now on the record opposing widely popular legislation
to protect free and fair elections. We will make sure everyone knows what they just did, and we’ll be holding them accountable.
So tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, we get right back up and get right back in the fight — to defend our democracy, cancel student loan debt, enact real climate change reform, get families the affordable child care they need, and elect progressives in 2022.
Thank you for persisting alongside me all these years.