05 Mar 2013
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Sunday U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) visited Selma as part of the 13th Annual Faith and Politics Institute’s Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama. The Pilgrimage is co-hosted by U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (D) who is a native of Selma. Selma is part of Congresswoman Sewell's Seventh District.
Rep. John Lewis (D) from Georgia, who participated in the original Selma to Montgomery march, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia, and Rep. Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery also co-hosted the bi-partisan trip which allows participants to retrace the steps of the historic Selma to Montgomery march demanding voting rights for Alabama's Black minority.
Rep. Sewell said, “I am honored to welcome my colleagues and Vice President Biden to the 7th Congressional District of Alabama. Our district is home to many of our nation’s historic civil rights sites. I believe it is important that we must acknowledge our painful past and frame its significance in the global fight for civil and human rights. Hosting the bi-partisan delegation will give us the opportunity to reflect on our painful past while acknowledging our current progress. I hope my colleagues will leave Alabama with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to promoting our shared democratic values of justice and equality.”
27 Members of Congress joined Rep. Sewell and VP Biden. Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer from Maryland and House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor from Virginia represented the leadership of both political parties on the trip. The group was in Selma on Sunday for the Bridge Crossing Reenactment and other activities.
Rep. Cantor said in a written statement, "As we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of so many pivotal moments in the civil rights movement, I felt it important to make the trip to Alabama to honor the sacrifices of patriots like John Lewis who stood on the front lines making them possible. I was especially moved by the gesture of Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy who presented John Lewis with the badge off his uniform apologizing for the police department's failure to protect the African American community in those turbulent days of the '50's and '60's. Reflecting on these important moments in our nation's history, I look forward to focusing on ways in which together we can continue to confront challenges and solve the nation's problems.”
Rep. Sewell said, “I witnessed Police Chief K.J. Murphy of Montgomery, AL apologize to Rep. John Lewis and give his badge as a token of reconciliation. This is a moment that made me especially proud to be an Alabamian. Healing is possible.” On Friday, Rep. Sewell joined Rep. Bonner, Rep. Aderholt and University of Alabama President Dr. Judy Bonner in welcoming Members of Congress to the University of Alabama Campus as part of the Faith and Politics.
Rep. Lewis said, "48 years ago, some of us and many of you here gave blood on this bridge. We were beaten, trampled by horses, but we didn't give up. We didn't give in and we will never give up or give in."
The Pilgrimage concluded with the 48th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and a reenactment of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.
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