As President Joe Biden signed an executive order that the White House described as “an initial step” towards broadening voting entry and increasing voter protections, politicians paid homage to late Congressman John Lewis, whose activism and continued advocacy work laid robust foundations for the laws handed on Sunday.
Lewis, a civil rights icon and U.S. House consultant for greater than three a long time previous to his loss of life final July, helped lead a gaggle of lots of throughout a march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capitol in Montgomery precisely 56 years in the past, on March 7, 1965.
The march was considered one of three through which activists protested discriminatory practices that prevented Black Americans from exercising their rights to vote. Before they had been capable of full their path to Montgomery, Alabama state troopers violently attacked demonstrators as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Selma’s outskirts. More than a dozen protesters, together with Lewis, sustained severe accidents as a results of the assault, which is remembered as “Bloody Sunday.”
“Congressman Lewis’ fight to protect and expand the vote did not end that day in Selma. He carried the mission to our nation’s Capital and remained a vigilant protector of our right to vote, knowing all too well the burdens borne to guarantee it,” the White House stated in a press release issued Sunday, introducing Biden’s govt order.
“Today’s Executive Order is an initial step in this Administration’s efforts to protect the right to vote and ensure all eligible citizens can freely participate in the electoral process,” it continued.
In gentle of the order’s passage and 56th anniversary of the assault on “Bloody Sunday,” quite a few political figures commemorated Lewis’ legacy and recalled the methods through which his activism knowledgeable the nation’s growing effort to prioritize voting rights.
“We drink deeply from wells of freedom & liberty that we did not dig,” wrote Senator Cory Booker, of New Jersey, on Twitter. “Thinking today of the giants who came before us, marching toward justice, and especially missing my mentor and friend John Lewis.”
“Bloody Sunday 1965 was a day filled with heartache and courage. For giants like John Lewis who never faltered in non-violent change making, we must march on towards a more just more perfect union,” tweeted Colorado Representative Joe Neguse.
“On March 7, 1965 John Lewis and 600 other brave Americans risked their life and shed their blood fighting for the right to vote,” stated Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock. “56 years later, and the struggle continues. Let’s honor their legacy by passing the #ForThePeopleAct & the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
Both payments beforehand handed within the U.S. House of Representatives. They intention to broaden voting rights by limiting the affect of funding in political races and defending towards vote suppression and racial discrimination.
“Every year, Bloody Sunday is a reminder of the blood spilled, the bones broken and the price paid by John Lewis and other patriots on the Edmund Pettis [sic] Bridge to ensure every American—regardless of their race—could vote in our democracy,” added Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth.
“56 years ago, John Lewis led the march across Edmund Pettus Bridge to demand full citizenship,” wrote Sally Yates, who served as deputy lawyer normal throughout Barack Obama‘s presidency, in an extra tweet. “We honor his courage and sacrifice by actively protecting the vote he fought to secure.”
Biden recognized the importance of Sunday’s anniversary in a videotaped handle, shared to Twitter alongside an extra message that acknowledged there’s extra work to be accomplished to broaden voting entry and solidify protections for all American voters.
“The legacy of Selma is that while nothing can stop free people from exercising their most sacred power as citizens, there are those who will do anything they can to take that power away,” his tweet learn. “As we reflect on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, we must stay focused on the work ahead.”