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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls on Lawmakers Visiting Selma to Commit to Voting Rights Act Restoration
‚ÄúCommemoration Requires Legislation‚ÄĚ

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061, simpson@civilrights.org
March 3, 2015

WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement in advance of a trip by a bipartisan set of lawmakers to Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march that spurred the nation to pass the Voting Rights Act:

“Fifty years ago this week, the Bloody Sunday marchers were brutalized by police for taking a stand, thereby inspiring the nation to adopt the bipartisan Voting Rights Act.

The VRA has become one of the most successful civil rights laws in American history, an indispensable tool for combating voter discrimination into the 21st century, and a fitting tribute to the Selma marchers. But the legacy of those who risked their lives in Selma has been unraveled by the voting discrimination that has emerged even more starkly since the Supreme Court gutted the VRA in 2013.

Members of Congress from both parties are going to Selma to honor the marchers’ memory, but many have done nothing to restore the marchers’ legacy.

Commemoration requires legislation. Selma isn’t just a photo op, it’s a solemn remembrance of the blood, sweat, tears, and lives that went into securing voting rights for racial minorities in this country.

The Bloody Sunday march is not a parade, and it is hypocritical for members to attend the event and then do nothing to advance a VRA restoration when they return to Washington.  We expect every member of Congress marching in Selma this week to work diligently and thoughtfully to pass legislation that fully protects voters from discrimination.”

Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

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