Alabama Political Reporter
Montgomery, AL – Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Board Chairman Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, SCLC President Charles Steele, Alabama Sen. Hank Sanders and other leaders held a news conference at 1:30 p.m. today in the 3rd Floor Press Room of the Alabama State House to discuss and detail the full Selma-to-Montgomery March.
“We are re-enacting the full 54-mile March this year,” said SCLC President Charles Steele. “The March will begin in Selma on Sunday, March 8th, with the Commemoration of Bloody Sunday, and will conclude on Friday, March 13th, with an 11:00 a.m. event on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery.” Sen. Hank Sanders (D-Selma) said, “It is so important that we re-enact the full March this year on the 50th Anniversary. Every year for 40-plus years we have commemorated Bloody Sunday, which is sacred and the lifeblood of all events surrounding the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and the Selma-to-Montgomery March. But every five years we have also re-enacted the full Selma-to-Montgomery March, just as we will do next month.”
SCLC Board Chair Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette said, “This is not just a March in Commemoration, but it is also a March in Recommitment to Voting Rights. We expect this to be the biggest March that we have ever had. SCLC is heading this effort just as we have headed it every time and will be co-sponsored by many other organizations including the National Voting Rights Museum, the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, SOS (Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy) and others. Sen. Hank Sanders and Rep. Alvin Holmes are also serving as co-chairs.”’
“The Selma-to-Montgomery March is known all over the world,” said Rep. Thad McClammy (D-Montgomery. “It is a symbol for voting rights struggles everywhere. It is important that we re-enact this March as we rededicate ourselves to protecting voting rights.” Rep. Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) said,
“The Selma-to-Montgomery March started in Selma, but it ended in Montgomery with tens of thousands gathering in front of the State Capitol. This March will be ending in Montgomery again, and we invite people to participate in mass just as they did 50 years ago. We are still fighting for voting rights.”
Sen. Sanders said, “The right to vote is being challenged at every turn. From voter photo ID (modern day poll tax), proof of citizenship to register (modern day literacy test) and reduction in voting and voter registration days to the Shelby County v. Holder decision gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act and more, Americans are losing the right to vote, which so many people sacrificed their lives and blood to secure.” Rep. John Knight (D-Montgomery) said, “Now more than ever we need a recommitment to voting rights in America.”
President Steele said, “It is good that a large delegation of Members of Congress are coming to Selma this year. We hope that this will inspire each of them to be fully committed to restoring the Voting Rights Act in full. Complete restoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, including full implementation of Section 5, is vital to protecting the right to vote, and we hope that every Member of Congress in attendance will support and push for this to happen. We ask them to not only participate in the Bloody Sunday March but also in the full Selma-to-Montgomery March.” Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford said, “And the March will not end in Montgomery, but we will continue on to Washington, D.C. We will be urging all the members of Congress who are coming to Alabama as well as all members of Congress to vote to fully restore the Voting Rights Act. We cannot be satisfied until the Voting Rights Act is restored to its original intent and purpose.”