President Joe Biden arrived in Alabama on Sunday to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the landmark “Bloody Sunday” march that galvanized the civil rights motion and helped result in an growth of voting rights.
Biden’s cease in Selma comes as he and fellow Democrats wrestle to cross their very own sweeping voting rights measures, with dim prospects of passage in a Republican-controlled Home of Representatives.
Nonetheless, Biden plans to make contemporary calls for brand spanking new voting protections when he speaks from the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the place in 1965 a gaggle of civil rights marchers had been overwhelmed by White state troopers as they tried to cross.
The president will take part within the yearly stroll throughout the bridge to commemorate the occasions, which sparked outrage and helped rally help behind the Voting Rights Act. Among the many protesters overwhelmed was the late US Rep. John Lewis.
Apart from its place in historical past, Selma can also be nonetheless recovering from devastating tornadoes that struck two months ago.
It’s not Biden’s first time attending the anniversary occasions in Selma; in 2020, throughout his run for the presidency, he spoke at historic Brown Chapel AME Church as he labored to courtroom Black voters forward of Tremendous Tuesday.
“We’ve been dragged backward and we’ve misplaced floor. We’ve seen all too clearly that in the event you give hate any respiratory room it comes again,” he mentioned in his speech then.
Biden would go on to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency, due largely to his help from Black voters.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who represented the administration on the anniversary occasion final yr, mentioned in a press release Sunday that “America has seen a brand new assault on the liberty to vote.”
“Extremists have labored to dismantle the voting protections that generations of civil rights leaders and advocates fought tirelessly to win. They’ve purged voters from the rolls. They’ve closed polling locations. They’ve made it against the law to offer water to folks standing in line,” she mentioned.
Throughout final yr’s occasion, Harris had vowed that she and Biden would “put the complete energy of the chief department behind our shared effort” whereas criticizing Republican lawmakers for voting to dam passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Development Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. She known as on these gathered on the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge “to proceed to push the Senate to not enable an arcane rule to disclaim us the sacred proper.”
On Sunday, Biden plans to “speak in regards to the significance of commemorating Bloody Sunday in order that historical past can’t be erased,” in response to White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
“He’ll spotlight how the continued battle for voting rights is integral to delivering financial justice and civil rights for black Individuals,” she mentioned.
Bloody Sunday commemorates when, in 1965, 600 folks started a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, demanding an finish to discrimination in voter registration. On the Edmund Pettus Bridge, state and native lawmen attacked the marchers with billy golf equipment and tear gasoline, driving them again to Selma. Seventeen folks had been hospitalized and dozens extra had been injured by police.
This story and headline have been up to date.