Assistant Attorney General keynote speaker at unity breakfast

Published 7:06 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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Assistant Attorney General Kirsten Clarke spoke at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast at Wallace Community College – Selma.

On March 3, Clarke addressed voter suppression and the events that led to Bloody Sunday 59 years ago.

“The March from Selma to Montgomery, after all, was about the right to vote, and it is the right that Dr. King called ‘the highest mandate of our democratic tradition,’” Clarke said. “And sadly, it is in jeopardy. Voter suppression efforts are rampant across the country. The Justice Department has vigorously challenged this wave of discrimination, bringing lawsuits in places like Georgia, Texas, Arizona and more. But we need your help. We need you to challenge voting discrimination and voter suppression when it rears its ugly head in your communities, and we need all of you to continue to call on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act.”

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The breakfast also had a lot of local flavor on its menu.

Selma Mayor James Perkins, Jr. and Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn each gave updates on the progress from the Jan. 12, 2023 tornado that damaged 40 percent of the city.

“Last year at breakfast, we talked about the damage from the tornado,” Perkins said. “This year, I’m talking about the progress made. This administration asked and received help for the tornado damage. When you come back next year, we will give you an update.”

Nunn said he is always glad to see the area filled with people who attend the Bridge Crossing Jubilee each year.

“The week affords us to look back on our history and ancestors,” Nunn said. “History was made in Selma. We cannot get complacent. There’s more work to be done.”

Sam Walker, historian of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, said he is grateful that the Jubilee entered its 32nd year and “Bloody Sunday” turned 59, both becoming annual anniversaries.

Dr. James Mitchell, WCCS President and CEO, was master of ceremony. Mitchell provided humor during the entire event, promising to stop speakers if they surpassed the three-minute time limit. 

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, Senator James Clyburn, Orrville Mayor Louvenia Lumpkin and Orrville Councilman William Lumpkin also attended the breakfast.

Rose Sanders, a co-founder of the Jubilee with her husband, former State Senator Hank Sanders, led the crowd in singing.

Sponsors for the Jubilee were 21st Century Youth leadership movement, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., National Voting Rights Museum & Institute, Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Selma to Montgomery 50th Anniversary Commemoration Foundation, Southern Leadership Christian Conference and WCCS.

Alabama Power, Alabama American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Drummond Company, Inc., Google LLC and Protective Life Foundation were the major supporters.