U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján visits the Edmund Pettus Bridge Friday in Selma, Ala., to mark the 50th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday.’ Courtesy/BRL Office
U.S. CONGRESSIONAL News:
SELMA, Ala.—U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District released the following statement Friday during his visit to Selma, Ala., to mark the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”
A water tower with flags waving Friday in Selma, Ala. Courtesy/BRL Office
“On March 7, 1965, a brave group of civil rights marchers, including my colleague Rep. John Lewis, set out for Montgomery to demand the right to vote for African Americans. What transpired in Selma as these courageous individuals crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge will forever be at the heart of the American civil rights movement – a moment in our history that captured the attention of a nation and shined a bright light on the struggle for equality.
“These brave men and women, champions for civil rights, were met with violence as they were attacked and beaten by Alabama State Troopers. This weekend we remember all of the people who marched and organized, who sacrificed and bled, and who stood up to discrimination and intolerance and demanded the fundamental right to vote.
“Their efforts on that day, and their refusal to back down in the face of such violence and hatred, sparked a national push for the Voting Rights Act. While their march ended at that bridge, two weeks later, 30,000 people crossed it and did not stop until reaching the Alabama State Capitol. And within five months, this landmark legislation was signed into law.
“Fifty years later, our work is not over. The Voting Rights Act has been weakened and we still find injustice in our communities. But in Selma we are reminded of what can be accomplished when we march as one toward justice and equality, undaunted by the path before us, driven by the enduring spirit to do what is right.
“While this anniversary is a sobering reminder of the struggles and sacrifices of the civil rights movement, it is also a call to action. It is a reminder of the power of the vote and that so many sacrificed so much for that right. Let us honor them by fulfilling our civic duty at the ballot box. And as a nation let us continue to come together, continue to promote opportunity in the face of inequality, and continue to fight for justice for all people.”