Jesse Jackson, 38 Others Arrested For Refusing To Leave Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s Office

Screenshot/Twitter/David Wallace

Gabrielle Temaat Contributor
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Rev. Jesse Jackson and 38 others were arrested Monday for refusing to leave Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s office in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jackson and Rev. William Barber, prominent civil rights leaders, urged activists to fight for voting rights and an end to the filibuster, according to the Independent.

Hundreds of activists marched a mile to Sinema’s office chanting “end the filibuster now.” They said removing the filibuster would allow Democratic senators to pass voting-rights laws and raise the federal minimum wage, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Jesse Jackson, Liberal Activists Launch Voter Registration Drives In Ferguson)

Jackson said the country is in a “civilizational crisis” with “battle lines drawn,” according to the Independent. “The power’s in you, the people,” he said.

“I taught kids for 25 years that this is what you have to do to change things, and now it’s time to step up,” said Barry Smith, a 59-year-old retired school teacher, as he was preparing to be arrested. “We’re supposed to be a democracy, so having a minority running the Senate is just so infuriating.”

The 39 people arrested were charged with trespassing, the Independent reported.

Congressional democrats have been working to pass voting-rights legislation which has been impeded by the filibuster. Sinema and other moderate Democrats have spoken out against making changes to the filibuster. She says it fosters bipartisan cooperation and longer-lasting compromises. “The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles,” Sinema wrote in a Washington Post article.