Attorney General spoke at Historic Tabernacle Baptist

Published 5:42 pm Sunday, March 3, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke Sunday at Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Garland discussed voting rights and the 59th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”

“The Justice Department owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the courageous activists who marched here in Selma 59 years ago. And to those who will march,” Garland said. “There are many things that are open to debate in America. One thing that must not be open for debate is the right of all eligible citizens to vote and to have their vote counted. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all others flow. It is a right that members of this community bled for.”

Email newsletter signup

Garland said little progress toward voting rights for all cutizens has been made in the present.

“Progress in protecting the right to vote — especially for Black Americans — has never been steady,” Garland said. “Indeed, throughout our country’s history — before Bloody Sunday, and after — the right to vote in America has been under attack. It was under attack in the wake of the Civil War and amidst Reconstruction, when white supremacists used violence and threats of violence to stop Black Americans from exercising their right to vote.”

Garland said the African-Americans who were beaten on Bloody Sunday need the sacrifices they made to count.

“Court decisions in recent years have drastically weakened the protections of the Voting Rights Act that marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge bled for 59 years ago,” Garland said. “And since those decisions, there has been a dramatic increase in legislative measures that make it harder for millions of eligible voters to vote and to elect the representatives of their choice. 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. Such measures threaten the foundation of our system of government.”