Talk Show Host Joe Madison is frustrated that voting rights bills have yet to be passed so he’s taking matters into his own hands to raise awareness of the issue. The host of SiriusXM Urban View’s podcast “Joe Madison The Black Eagle ” has announced he is on a hunger strike until President Joe Biden signs the bills.
“Today, I am beginning a hunger strike by abstaining from eating until Congress passes, and President Biden signs, the Freedom to Vote Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” Madison tweeted on Nov. 8.
A member of the National Radio Hall of Fame, Madison also announced on his program that he’s starting a hunger strike in protest of voting rights not getting passed in the Senate, EUR reported.
Madison took 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, The Independent reported.
Both bills were passed by the House of Representatives but have stalled in the Senate.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 (H.R. 4) would restore and strengthen parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Freedom to Vote Act would protect elections from voter suppression, partisan sabotage and gerrymandering.
Some on Twitter praised Madison’s efforts. “committed to the cause! power to the people,” BeeBee81 @blk_buttaflyy tweeted.
“It’s sad but necessary that we have to go so hard to garner this most basic of rights in a “democracy”… Y’all already know: this country will only become a democracy when we make it one. Appreciating @MadisonSiriusXM the Black Eagle for consistently standing up for us,” tweeted Makani Themba, the chief strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies, a social justice consulting agency.
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“I call it basically starving for voting rights,” said Madison, a former national political director of the NAACP, on his SiriusXM program. “And that began on this date. And I repeat just as food is necessary to sustain life, the right to vote is necessary to sustain democracy. Yes, my life matters. My health matters, but our right to vote matters more.”
Madison said he’s starting the hunger strike in solidarity with all those who are calling on Congress and President Biden to protect voting rights.
“As all of you know, my show is action-oriented. It personifies taking action. I always say, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ And for me, it’s not just a slogan. It is what drives me and inspires me,” he said.
Madison mentioned the Supreme Court decision, Shelby (County) v. Holder of 2013, which he said watered down the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Five years after the ruling, nearly 1,000 U.S. polling places had closed, many of them in predominantly African-American counties. There were also cuts to early voting. Since the ruling, almost all restrictions on voting have been enacted by Republicans.
Since Shelby v. Holder, Madison said, “state houses across the country have passed (myriad) laws that have made it more difficult for people to vote. And 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.”