President Joe Biden evoked the words of late Georgia representative John Lewis in a call to “redeem the soul of America” by protecting voting rights at the edge of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on Sunday. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo
March 5 (UPI) — President Joe Biden evoked the words of late Georgia representative John Lewis in a call to “redeem the soul of America” by protecting voting rights at the edge of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on Sunday.
Biden’s visit comes ahead of the 58th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a flashpoint in the Civil Rights battle to affirm the voting rights of Black Americans in 1965. Fifty-eight years later, Biden said the right to vote “remains under assault.”
“A conservative Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act over the years,” he said. “Since the 2020 election a wave of states passed dozens of anti-voting laws fueled by the big lie and the election deniers now elected to office.”
When Lewis stood before a crowd of 600 people about to cross the bridge — which is named after a prominent member of the Ku Klux Klan — in a march to the state capitol in Montgomery, he said there was work still to be done. That was also Biden’s message on Sunday, but not just for voting rights. He said he also wants to pass more extensive gun laws, protect federal healthcare programs and continue to build the economy “from the bottom up and the middle out.”
Lewis, Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, and the hundreds of other marchers were met with violence from Alabama State Troopers. Lewis and Williams were among the first to be clubbed down and bloodied.
Biden recalled seeing the clash on the news while he was a student in Delaware. He said he felt guilty that he was not there marching.
“I can still picture the troopers with their batons and wands and whips,” he said. “Selma is a reckoning. The right to vote is the threshold of democracy. With it, anything is possible. Without that right, nothing is possible.”
Vice President Kamala Harris agreed with Biden’s message touting the importance of protecting voting rights in a statement she released on Sunday.
“We must redouble our efforts and renew our commitment to protecting the freedom to vote,” Harris’ statement said.
“President Joe Biden and I continue to call on Congress to pass federal legislation that protects voting rights, election integrity, and our democracy. If we are to truly honor the legacy of those who marched in Selma on Bloody Sunday, we must continue to fight to secure and safeguard the freedom to vote.”
Charles Mauldin (L), Vice President Kamala Harris (C) and Kendra Angion stand side by side as they cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., to commemorate the anniversary of Bloody Sunday on March 6, 2022. Photo by Andi Rice/UPI | License Photo
Source : United Press International