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Garland, Harris mark Alabama's Bloody Sunday in Selma

Vice President Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) were among the procession that marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., this weekend in remembrance of Bloody Sunday, when police attacked hundreds of civil rights protesters in 1965.

In a speech early Sunday, Garland warned that the same voting rights the protesters demanded 59 years before were under attack again, referring to legal challenges to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Since those [court] decisions, there has been a dramatic increase in legislative measures that make it harder for millions of eligible voters to vote and to elect representatives of their choice,” Garland said, according to reporting from The Associated Press.

“Those measures include practices and procedures that make voting more difficult; redistricting maps that disadvantage minorities; and changes in voting administration that diminish the authority of locally elected or nonpartisan election administrators,” he said. “Such measures threaten the foundation of our system of government.”

Sewell, a Selma native who now represents the city in Congress, reflected on her participation in Sunday’s march at a press conference Thursday.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to walk back in time, to experience the places, to meet the people, to make sure this nation never forgets what happened on Bloody Sunday,” she said.

Hundreds of people were injured in the police attacks, which included stampedes of horses and brutal beatings. The violence and subsequent marches urged the introduction of the Voting Rights Act and other civil rights legislation.

Sewell also remarked on the legal challenges to the Voting Rights Act today.

“Old battles have become new again, not just for reproductive rights and reproductive freedoms, but for voting rights,” she said. “I would have never guessed that my cause would be the same cause that [the late Rep.] John Lewis fought for 59 years ago.”

“John was bludgeoned on a bridge for the right of all of us to vote,” she continued. “And we have seen Republicans roll back that, the Republican-led Supreme Court with the Shelby decision, and it’s simply unacceptable.”

The court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013 struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, namely the federal oversight of state voting laws in the South.

The march Sunday is part of a four-day commemoration of events, in remembrance and celebration of the civil rights movement.

Source: The Hill

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