Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights Marchby Representative Joyce Beatty
Posted on 2015-02-02
BEATTY. Mr. Speaker, I would like to join my other colleagues
tonight to thank Congresswoman Kelly from Illinois and Congressman
Payne from New Jersey for organizing tonight's Congressional Black
Caucus Special Order hour.
I rise to highlight a pivotal moment in America's history--the Selma voting rights march--that 50 years ago, Mr. Speaker, brought together Americans to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, across the now famous Edmund Pettus Bridge. There were attacks and dogs, beatings and deaths, but still we marched because we as a country knew that all Americans should have the same rights. The 54-mile walk was an effort to demonstrate the desire of Black American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote and to be treated equally.
Mr. Speaker, although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination and segregation remained throughout much of the United States. The march led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which, today, continues to be eroded in a threatened bill. The communities across our Nation certainly have threats to their basic rights, and there are certainly injustices. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King--and they still ring true today when I think about his words--``injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'' When I reflect on my recent trip to Ferguson-- where I witnessed firsthand--it seems that we are still reengaging in our unfortunate history and ongoing challenges with voting rights, voter registration, and injustices--and with new vitality and vigor.
Mr. Speaker, I will stand with my colleagues--those who are here, along with Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Terri Sewell--when we march across that bridge and when we say that we must turn our march toward solutions. If we, Democrats and Republicans, can watch a movie together about Selma, sharing silent moments in tears, sharing stories of our own experiences, surely we can come together to fix voting rights. How long must we wait, Mr. Speaker? How long will it take? Let me end with these words: it is on all of us here in this body to march for voting rights and to march for having voting rights.
Mr. Speaker, I yield to my colleague, Congresswoman Robin Kelly.