Awarding Congressional Gold Medal to the Foot Soldiers Who Participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the Final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965by Representative Steny H. Hoyer
Posted on 2015-02-11
HOYER. I will say to my friend from Michigan, today we are all
members of the Congressional Black Caucus, one people with one
commitment and one idea.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this bill, of which I am a cosponsor, honoring the brave men and women who marched in Selma.
This will be my 10th year participating in the Faith and Politics Institute's pilgrimage to Selma with my friend from Georgia, John Lewis.
I thank the gentlelady from Selma for leading this debate.
Those folks who marched across that bridge on March 7, known as Bloody Sunday, were met with the power of the State to prevent them from voting.
This Gold Medal would be a tribute to John and to all those who marched alongside him and all those who marched along 2 weeks later with Martin Luther King, Jr., those thousands who walked that 5-day journey from Selma to Montgomery. We ought to pass it unanimously. I hope we will.
But Martin Luther King, Jr., would not be happy with us if we just looked back in awe and reverence and did not look at today--I tell my friend from Michigan--for he would say that Congress should go further than simply honoring those who fought for their rights a half a century ago. We should pay tribute to their sacrifices and the scars they still carry by restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court weakened in 2013. Martin Luther King, Jr., was about principle, but he was also about ensuring that protections would be in place.
I hope that this House will allow bipartisan legislation to restore these protections, which is cosponsored by the gentleman from Wisconsin, Jim Sensenbrenner, the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee on the Republican side, and the gentleman from Georgia, John Lewis, a hero of Selma. These protections should move expeditiously through the House once the legislation is introduced.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.