Chairman Cleaver’s Statement Commemorating the Anniversary of Bloody Sunday

Washington, DC – Today, Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II released the following statement commemorating the anniversary of Bloody Sunday:

“Sunday marked the 47th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, where hundreds of men and women courageously risked their lives in the name of justice, equality and freedom. Despite the many dangers awaiting them, those brave men and women marched to the other side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge forever challenging a nation thereby forever ensuring their important place in the fabric of American history. We remember their courage in the face of danger and the spirit of perseverance that lead to iconic and critical legislation, which was signed into law–the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As we celebrate the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement, we also recognize that while we have come a long way we still have miles and miles to go before our work is complete.

“Throughout the United States, dozens of new voting laws have been proposed and enacted making it harder for citizens to register and to vote. These laws will turn back the clock, reawaken grotesque periods in our nation’s history where discrimination was commonplace, and the right to vote was only given to a select few. Currently, only two-thirds of America’s eligible citizenry participate in presidential elections and less than half participate in midterm elections. The new state voting laws will make it much more challenging to cast votes for more than 5.5 million eligible voters.

“I marched to commemorate the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, reflect upon the lives lost, and commit to doing all within my power to ensure we never return to that dark place in time. I along with the Members of the Congressional Black Caucus remain committed to working diligently and with urgency to ensure every eligible person is properly equipped to cast their votes. Americans impacted by voting laws include disabled, youth, minorities, and seniors. This issue is about fairness and opportunity in the voting process. The CBC believes that ALL Americans have the right to cast their votes. We must act now, as the “Conscience of the Congress”, the CBC will stand united in the fight against any laws enacted to suppress the right to vote for millions of Americans.

“We recommit ourselves to their struggle and to the promise of America becoming the practice. There is much work to be done and the CBC is prepared to protect our voting rights.”

- Chairman Emanuel Cleaver

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