By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D) from Selma attended the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) inaugural Faith Leaders Summit on Voting Rights. The event was held in conjunction with the Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC) 2012 National Consultation. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered the keynote address.
In her written statement Rep. Sewell said, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to attend the inaugural Faith Leaders Summit on Voting Rights with faith-based leaders from my district. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and now more than ever we must come together to ensure that all Americans can vote without intimidation, prejudice or discrimination.”
Rep. Sewell was joined at the event by Pastor T.L. Lewis of the historic Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Pratt City, AL.
Rep. Sewell said, “Pastor Lewis is truly a servant leader and a powerful force for good in the Birmingham area. He continues to exemplify extraordinary leadership in face of the church’s devastation from last year’s April 27th tornadoes. America’s faith-based leaders have played a crucial role in growing and strengthening our spiritual health, family development and community empowerment.”
Pastor T.L. Lewis said, “This summit is essential because we have so many issues facing our nation currently. The collaboration of the CBC and faith-based leaders provides a good vehicle for collective strategy that we can take back to our communities and implement to its fullest.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “I need your prayers. The President needs your prayers. Keep them coming.” “It is no time to become complacent. In too many places the struggle to uphold the rights of all people continues.“ “Today as Attorney General I have the privilege and the solemn duty to enforce this law (the Voting Rights Act).” AG Holder said that voting rights were under attack due to state level voting laws including photo I.D. laws like in South Carolina where AG Holder said that the state photo ID law placed an unfair burden on non-white voters. “Under section 2 we have opened more than 100 investigations in the last year.” AG Holder called the Voting Rights Act Section 5 preclearance requirement “a cornerstone of civil rights law.” Holder said that Section 5 has been “a powerful tool to battle discrimination for years.” “Section 5 has increasingly come under attack by those who claim it is no longer needed.” Holder said that in the last two year two dozen laws and executive orders have made it difficult for elderly and young voters to exercise their voting rights privileges.
The nine Churches that make up The Conference of National Black Churches represent historically black denominations with a combined membership of over 30 million and 50,000 congregations in the United States. The CNBC “National Consultation” event with the Congressional Black Caucus is held annually.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District. Rep. Sewell is seeking a second term in the United States Congress. Selma Republican Don Chamberlin is challenging Rep. Sewell on the November 6th general election ballot.