President Joe Biden is set to attend the annual commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, where he plans to pay tribute to the heroes of the civil rights movement and speak to the current generation of civil rights activists. The event is expected to take place on Sunday, March 7, 2023.
The commemoration of Bloody Sunday is an important event in the history of the civil rights movement. On March 7, 1965, civil rights activists, led by John Lewis and others, attempted to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to protest voter discrimination in the South. The marchers were met with violence by Alabama state troopers, who beat them with clubs and sprayed them with tear gas.
The event was a turning point in the civil rights movement and helped to galvanize support for voting rights. It led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited discriminatory voting practices and protected the voting rights of African Americans and other minority groups.
President Biden’s visit to Selma is a reminder of the importance of this event and the legacy of those who fought for voting rights. He is expected to deliver a speech that highlights the progress made since Bloody Sunday and the work that still needs to be done to protect voting rights.
However, many civil rights activists and advocates are feeling dejected because Biden has been unable to make good on a campaign pledge to bolster voting rights. They are eager to see his administration keep the issue in the spotlight and take concrete action to protect voting rights.
Ahead of Biden’s visit, activists wrote to Biden and members of Congress to express their frustration with the lack of progress on voting rights legislation. Biden unveiled his legislation in 2021 — naming it the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — but it failed to garner the 60 votes needed to win passage in the Senate.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is named after the late civil rights leader and congressman, who played a pivotal role in the fight for voting rights. The legislation aims to restore and strengthen key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013. It would also require states with a history of voter discrimination to obtain federal approval before changing their voting laws.
The failure of the legislation to pass the Senate has been a major setback for voting rights advocates, who have been pushing for federal protections against voter suppression and discrimination. They argue that voter suppression efforts, such as restrictive voter ID laws and purging of voter rolls, disproportionately impact Black and other minority voters.
Despite the setback, President Biden has vowed to continue fighting for voting rights and has called on Congress to take action. He has also signed several executive orders aimed at promoting access to the ballot box and combating voter suppression.
In addition to commemorating Bloody Sunday, President Biden is expected to meet with civil rights leaders and activists during his visit to Selma. The city has a rich history in the civil rights movement and was a center of activism during the struggle for voting rights.
The commemoration of Bloody Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in the fight for voting rights, as well as the challenges that still remain. It is also a reminder of the power of peaceful protest and the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of violence and opposition.