GEORGETOWN, Texas 一 Dozens of churchgoers and civil rights activists were illuminated only by a few lights early Wednesday morning. By 6:30 a.m., an announcement went out over a speaker system reminding people participating in the coming march to register and have proof of a COVID vaccination.
Marcel McClinton was one of almost 100 people to participate in the Poor People’s Campaign’s Moral March for Democracy in Texas.
“I’ve never threatened anybody except with my voice,” McClinton said.
McClinton may have been a stranger to most at Christ Lutheran Church in Georgetown, Texas, but he’s known in his hometown of Houston as the youngest person to run for city council.
“In my first eligible election I voted for myself,” he said.
By 7 a.m. McClinton was holding a banner along with two other marchers, exiting the church parking lot and walking to the frontage road of Interstate 35 headed south.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Powered by the People joined the march, inspired by the famed Selma to Montgomery march to fight voter suppression in the south in 1965. The march successfully led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
On Wednesday, the group walked along I-35 urging Congress to end the Senate filibuster, pass all provisions of the For the People Act, raise minimum wage to $15 an hour, protect undocumented immigrants and protect voting rights.
“Not only is it wrong but I think it’s generally criminal to come after our rights. I didn’t do anything wrong to have my voting rights denied,” McClinton said.
Joining McClinton in the march was 45-year-old Theo Jennings.
“My mom passed away a few weeks ago and I’m in the states to try to transition to come back here,” Jennings said.
Jennings is in Texas but currently lives in Tokyo, Japan. He made it a point to attend the march after hearing about it on television.
“I carry my American values around the world,” Jennings said.
The corporate businessman believes voting restrictions could have global repercussions.
“Our document of the Constitution I believe is a light for the world,” Jennings said. “If we allow this to happen then our country will probably fail.”
The entire 27-mile march is separated in segments across four days until the final stretch Saturday where marchers will reach the Texas Capitol for a rally.
While marches have a cap on the amount of people who can join due to safety requirements, the rally is open to the public.
“Take a picture of yourself, post it on Twitter or live stream it on Instagram. Remind people they should join us 10 a.m. this Saturday,” Beto O’Rourke told the crowd during a short break.
During the break, church leaders informed marchers that Texas Democrats in Washington were invigorated by their efforts and would not compromise on bills that restrict voting in Texas.
Wednesday’s march finished at Good Hope Baptist Church in Round Rock, Texas, where marchers will meet again Thursday morning to continue on towards Austin.