Group of Un-PAC university students hold hunger strike across country to defend voting rights

Student rights group Un-PAC plans to resume its hunger strike in Washington, DC on Thursday in support of passing voting rights legislation.

The hunger strike is being relaunched in an attempt to get Congress to pass the freedom to vote law by Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The law would work to roll back a list of restrictive election laws passed in a number of states thwarting voter suppression and ending partisan gerrymandering,

As President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass the free vote law as soon as possible, the GOP’s use of filibuster, a long-standing debate to delay voting on the legislation, will probably from this perspective an uphill battle. This remains the case even though the bill enjoys strong support from Democratic senators, as well as pressure from the president to abolish filibuster.

As a result, Un-PAC is moving forward with a hunger strike that took to the streets of Washington, DC in early December. Members of the group met with conservative Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and they ended their hunger strike when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed a vote on the law would come by Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a sentiment that was echoed by Biden.

As the battle to pass voting rights legislation intensifies, rights group Un-PAC plans to restart a hunger strike in a bid to urge President Joe Biden and the Congress to pass the Free Voting Law. Here, Un-PAC co-founder and national director of the organization, Joseline Garcia, addresses participants in the hunger strike outside the White House during the group’s previous protest in December.
Leigh Vogel / Getty

However, as the battle to end filibustering and pass the free vote law intensifies, the A-PAC has said it will resume its hunger strike.

“Protecting our democracy is NOT a partisan issue, and ALL of our voting rights are under attack by black money and a broken and outdated voting system,” the A-PAC said on its website. “Conservatives, Independents, Moderates, Liberals and Progressives unite to advocate for federal intervention. President Biden and the US Senate must prioritize saving our democracy and passing the Freedom to Vote Act this year. “

This concern to pass the law seems to be paralleled by many liberals across the country, including some Democratic politicians. Notably, Stacey Abrams, a voting rights activist and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, chose to skip a speech on the subject given by President Biden on Tuesday.

A number of voting activism groups also boycotted the speech, with a coalition in Georgia calling the president’s speech an unnecessary “photo op.”

As some Democrats begin to show their frustration with the roadblocks provided for in the bill, the A-PAC hunger strike looks set to begin, and it could be long-term. A UN-PAC spokesperson said News week that the group’s hunger strike will be “indefinite” until the free vote law is passed.

In addition, the group provided News week with a message to senators: “The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that we should take black money out of politics, ban partisan gerrymandering and protect our freedom to vote, and we cannot allow filibustering,” which was not part of the original Constitution and has been amended over 160 times in the history of the United States, stands in the way of that. “

“We are resuming our hunger strike for democracy to advocate for our senators to share our sense of urgency and pass the free vote law, before it is too late. Our future depends on their decision, and our senators have a responsibility to represent their constituents and pass this law, rather than being skewed by the broken and partisan division in the US Senate, ”the statement continued.

Hunger strikes have often been used by activist groups in the past to raise awareness on a variety of issues, and Un-PAC does not appear to be alone.

At least two dozen black pastors went on hunger strike on Monday, The independent reported, in a similar effort to urge Congress to pass voting rights legislation by the end of the month.

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