For immediate release
June 24, 2021
1,500 UNITE HERE Freedom Riders Arrive in DC for National Action at Senate’s Doorstep to Combat Voter Suppression Laws Alongside Black Voters Matter
While Republican Senators Continue Attack on Voting Rights, Thousands Prepare to March in DC on Saturday
WHO: Hotel housekeepers, cooks and other hospitality workers with the union UNITE HERE, alongside Black Voters Matter and allies.
WHAT: National march of hospitality workers followed by a Freedom Ride for Voting Rights Rally. At 12:30 PM, 1,500 UNITE HERE Freedom Riders will begin marching from the Intersection of D St NW and New Jersey Ave NW, Washington D.C. to the Black Voters Matter Rally on the National Mall.
WHERE: Intersection of D St NW and New Jersey Ave NW, Washington D.C.
WHEN: Saturday, June 26 at 12:30 PM for a march followed by a 1:30 PM rally on the National Mall.
VISUALS: Crowds of union members wearing red shirts reading, “Freedom Ride for Voting Rights” with Black Voters Matter power fist, and holding signs and six-foot banners with “freedom to vote” messaging. Workers will walk half a mile for about 30 minutes chanting and singing songs of struggle and resistance.
*Interviews with freedom riders available immediately or upon request*
Contact: MJ Leira at 917-565-7697 or [email protected]
While Republican Senators continue the attack on voting rights, over 1,500 hospitality workers with the union UNITE HERE are joining Black Voters Matter in a major march and demonstration in Washington DC this Saturday, June 26.
Alarmed by voter suppression laws targeting people of color sweeping the nation, UNITE HERE is sending 1,500 hospitality workers by bus from 21 states to D.C. as part of the Freedom Ride for Voting Rights. Saturday’s action culminates nine days of Freedom Ride actions nationwide as busses have launched from the deep South, southwest and other parts of the country to champion voting rights and democracy reform.
UNITE HERE housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers, and food service workers began their freedom ride on June 17 and many will have spent up to 9 days on the road picking up workers along the way and launching busses from key states across the country. Workers have traveled far and long to demand that the Senate pass the For the People Act immediately.
UNITE HERE union members are majority Black and Latinx workers who will be the most impacted by the anti-democratic legislation currently moving through state legislatures.
In 2020, despite facing over 98% layoff rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, UNITE HERE hospitality workers knocked on 3 million doors in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Florida, mobilizing the votes of working people and people of color hit hardest by economic inequality and the pandemic. Then, they joined the team that turned Georgia blue to help deliver come-from-behind wins and Take Back the Senate in the January 2021 Georgia Senate runoff.
UNITE HERE is the hospitality workers’ union in the U.S. and Canada, representing over 300,000 workers in hotels, gaming, restaurants and food service, airports, and more. Ninety-eight percent of its members were laid off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as of May 2021, over 70 percent remained out of work.