President Joe Biden traveled to Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 58th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” Biden spoke at the Edmund Pettus Bridge — where in 1965 hundreds of civil rights marchers were attacked by police. Met by public outrage, the event marked a turning point and led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Biden has spoken on voting rights often, and in his most recent State of the Union address he said: “In America, we must protect the right to vote, not suppress that fundamental right. We honor the results of our elections, not subvert the will of the people. We must uphold the rule of the law and restore trust in our institutions of democracy.”
Said Biden in his remarks at the bridge: “They forced the country to confront the hard truth and to act to keep the promise of America alive.” The president said he believed voting is a “fundamental right,” but remains under assault decades later from conservative Supreme Court justices, state lawmakers and election deniers. Biden repeated his plea for Congress to pass new voting legislation named for the late Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who was beaten and suffered a skull fracture during “Bloody Sunday.” Democrats attempted last year to update the 1965 Voting Rights Act with a bill named after Lewis, but failed to gain enough support to break the Senate filibuster.
Biden ended his speeches saying “extremism will not prevail …. Silence, as the saying goes, silence is complicity. And I promise you, my administration will not remain silent. I promise you.” The president then marched across the bridge with civil rights advocates after his speech, the first time he did so since entering the White House.
Editorial credit: Michael Scott Milner / Shutterstock.com