U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee got into what she referred to as "good trouble" last week in Washington D.C., when she was arrested while participating in a voting rights demonstration outside the Hart Senate Office Building.
Jackson Lee, a 71-year-old Democrat who has represented the Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest area since 1995, posted photos of her July 29 arrest on her Twitter account along with a 45-second video explaining why she was protesting. She was among a group of women who were demonstrating in support of federal voting rights legislation, including a proposed bill named after late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights activist who used the term "good trouble" to mean disobeying laws for a just cause.
It is unclear what exactly Jackson Lee did to prompt her arrest by the U.S. Capitol Police, or whether she was charged with a crime or faces any additional consequences.
"I engaged in civil disobedience today in front of the Hart Building in Washington D.C., and I was arrested," Jackson Lee said in her Twitter video. "I believe when you are getting into good trouble, when you realize that 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 and to pass (voting rights legislation)."
Jackson Lee also referenced the ongoing standoff between Democrats and Republicans in the Texas Legislature. Republicans have introduced a bill in a special session that they say aims to make voting more secure and less susceptible to fraud. Several Democrats in the Texas House, who claim the proposed law would make voting too restrictive and discourage ethnic minorities from voting, have fled to Washington to prevent a quorum in the state legislature and keep the Republican majority from passing the law.
The Texas Democrats are using their time in Washington to try to convince federal lawmakers to pass the voting rights legislation mentioned by Jackson Lee, who wore a button with Lewis' picture on it at the time of her arrest.
"The people of Texas are desperate and need it," Jackson Lee said. "The people of America are desperate and need it. And the Constitution provides that support of the fundamental right to vote."