Bloody Sunday

Story by WVUA 23’s Jordan Johnson.

The 55th anniversary of Bloody Sunday not only attracted some of the original foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement like Rep. John Lewis, but it also brought several democratic presidential candidates to Alabama.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg were in Selma. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was also there, but Klobuchar has since exited the presidental campaign. Primaries are coming up Tuesday so it is important that this event enlightens people of voter oppression that is still prevalent in our country.

“So, we see a lot of different forms [of voter opression],” said Steven Lance, who is part of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “There are some explicitly there. Some subtle. There is also voter intimidation that remains a reality. I think that most important is to just stand up. Use some of that spirit of John Lewis and the foot soldiers as we call them here.”

This anniversary a great reminder of how the right to vote is so powerful and that people were beaten and killed for it.

“No other way than to show up,” said Michelle Harper-Meriwether, who attended the march on Sunday. “You have to show up and show out. If you’re not present, then you aren’t present.”

People at the march said that it was important for the candidates to come and show support for the voting rights act that changed America.

“I think it’s important for these candidates to come here today to talk about recreating the bill as it was,” said Bob Smith, who attended the original march in 1965.

“The voting rights act, which most people would agree was the most important statutes in the civil rights pantheon, would never have been passed without Bloody Sunday,” Lance said.

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