WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee was arrested on Thursday during a voting-rights protest in Washington, D.C.
The 71-year-old Texas Democrat, who has served in Congress since 1995, was taken into custody Thursday protesting Republican lawmakers’ delay in passing legislation to protect voting rights.
Democratic representatives Joyce Beatty of Ohio and Georgia’s Hank Johnson were also arrested for participating in voting rights demonstrations this month.
“Yes I engaged in civil disobedience today in front of the Hart Building in Washington, D.C., and I was arrested,” Lee said in a video posted on Twitter.
“Any action that is a peaceful action of civil disobedience is worthy and more to push all of us to do better and to do more and to pass (HR) 1, S 1 and to pass the John Robert Lewis Voting Rights Act. The people of Texas are desperate and need it. The people of America are desperate and need it.”
The House passed the For the People Act earlier this year, but Senate Republicans blocked the legislation in late June. Democrats have focused on their efforts on getting the bill passed to counteract the onslaught of restrictive voting bills being introduced (and passed) by GOP state lawmakers nationwide.
Lee also shared photos of the arrest, showing her wrists in zip-tie handcuffs.
“I believe when you’re getting into good trouble, when you realize the 15th Amendment has guaranteed the fundamental right to vote, any action that is a peaceful action of civil disobedience is worthy and more to push all of us to do better and to do more,” she added.
Following Lee’s arrest, the Harris County Democratic Party in Texas released a statement:
“Once again we see a Black woman at the forefront of defending our civil rights and leading the fight to save our fragile democracy,” said Odus Evbagharu, chair of the Harris County Democratic Party.
“Congresswoman Lee understands we are at a pivotal moment in the history of our nation, where our sacred right to vote is under grave threat. She recognizes that we all must take action to protect this right.”