San­ders in Selma Says Civil Rights Strug­gle Con­tin­ues

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM - Selma, ALA

U.S. Sen. Bernie San­ders (I- t.) last Satur­day joined U.S. Rep. ohn Lewis (D-Ga.) and other civil rights pi­o­neers on the 50th an­niver­sary of an his­toric civil rights march that led to en­act­ment of the ot­ing Rights Act.

“In 1965, against racist le­gali ed vi­o­lence, in­cred­i­bly brave men and women put their lives on the line to de­mand that all Amer­i­cans, re­gard­less of their color, have the right to vote. And they won. When peo­ple stand to­gether for jus­tice, noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble,” San­ders said.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and mem­bers of Congress gath­ered at the foot of the Ed­mund Pet­tus Bridge to com­mem­o­rate the events of Bloody Sun­day in 1965, when ba­ton-wield­ing po­lice beat Lewis, the fu­ture Ge­or­gia con­gress­man, and other peace­ful pro­test­ers.

Later that year, Pres­i­dent Lyn­don B. ohnson signed the ot­ing Rights Act, which pro­tected vot­ers from dis­crim­i­na­tion un­til the Supreme Court two years ago in­val­i­dated a key por­tion of the land­mark law.

San­ders said he hoped the an­niver­sary of the march will be a cat­a­lyst for Congress to undo that 2013 court de­ci­sion.

“What Bloody Sun­day was about was show­ing the en­tire coun­try and the en­tire world how far some of the racist of­fi­cials in Alabama would go to pre­vent African-Amer­i­cans from par­tic­i­pat­ing the po­lit­i­cal process and from vot­ing,” San­ders said. “What hap­pened on that bridge that day was a huge step for­ward for democ­racy in Amer­ica. But what is hap­pen­ing right now not just in the South but all over this coun­try are ef­forts by Repub­li­can gov­er­nors and Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tures to make it harder for AfricanAmer­i­cans, for low-in­come peo­ple and for se­nior citi ens to vote.”

The elec­tion of Obama, the first African-Amer­i­can pres­i­dent, is a sign of the na­tion’s progress in the past half cen­tury, San­ders said. “But we also know that much more needs to be done. To­day, African Amer­i­can un­em­ploy­ment is dou­ble the na­tional av­er­age while African Amer­i­can house­hold in­come is $17,000 less. The strug­gle for racial and eco­nomic jus­tice con­tin­ues,” San­ders said.

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