Radio host says he is going on hunger strike until Congress passes voting rights bill

Senate Republicans filibustered a vote to begin debate on the legislation last week

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 09 November 2021 18:30 GMT
Senate Republicans block Voting Rights Act named after John Lewis

A radio host says he is going on hunger strike until Congress passes a voting rights bill.

Joe Madison, who is Black, has taken action after Senate Republicans last week blocked the starting of debate on a voting rights act named after the late congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis.

“As a political protest, I am beginning a hunger strike today by abstaining from eating any solid food until Congress passes, and President Biden signs, the Freedom to Vote Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” Joe Madison, a host of SiriusXM Urban View, said on Monday.

“And I repeat, just as food is necessary to sustain life, the right to vote is necessary to sustain democracy.”

The bill picked up the support of Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, but did not reach the 60 vote mark needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.

Mr Madison told his listeners that his protest was “not just a slogan”.

“It is what drives me and inspires me. So I have begun this hunger strike, I should say this, in solidarity – let me repeat, in solidarity – with all those who are calling on Congress and the president of the United States to protect our voting rights.”

And he added: “I am here to say, at some point we’ve got to change these moments into movements.

“And the difference between a moment and a movement is sacrifice. And although this is a moral as well as political cause for me, it is a component of a much larger movement.”

Earlier this year, Joe Biden called for members of both parties to take action on supporting voting rights, as GOP controlled states have passed laws critics say are designed to suppress voting.

“Perhaps most of all, it means continuing the cause that John was willing to give his life for: protecting the sacred right to vote,” the president said in July.

“Not since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s have we seen such unrelenting attacks on voting rights and the integrity of our elections – from the Big Lie to the insurrection on January 6th to the new waves of voter suppression and a new front of election subversion.”

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