Rep. Lee Honors Voting Rights Foot Soldiers & Works to Protect Their Legacy in Alabama

Selma, AL – This weekend, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a member of the Democratic Outreach and Engagement Task Force, traveled to Alabama for the 51st Selma-to-Montgomery Bridge Crossing and Congresswoman Sewell’s “Restore the Vote: A Congressional Forum on the Current State of Voting Rights in America.” Congresswoman Lee released this statement:

“Fifty one years ago, six hundred young people, faith leaders and activists changed the course of history by marching from Selma to Montgomery.

On March 7, 1965, these peaceful protestors were brutally attacked with batons, tear gas and police dogs. Hundreds were injured and hospitalized and the day became known as Bloody Sunday.

However, their efforts were not in vain; only ten days later, their actions led to the introduction of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a cornerstone of our democracy. Through non-violence, dedication and organization, these champions won strong voting rights protections for all Americans and helped to dismantle the system of legal segregation that oppressed generations of African Americans.

In the more than five decades since, our nation has made significant progress.

But as we celebrate the patriotism and courage of these Voting Rights Foot Soldiers, we must confront the fact that our voting rights are once again under assault.

Following the Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision which gutted the Voting Rights Act, Republicans in state legislatures have been falling over themselves to erect new barriers that prevent Americans from voting. That’s simply wrong! We cannot allow the clock to be turned back or the hard won victories of the Civil Rights Movement to be overturned.

Meanwhile, Speaker Ryan, Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) and Congressional Republicans have ignored the clear, bipartisan consensus to amend the Voting Rights Act and ensure that all Americans have equal access to the ballot box. We must act now.

That is why I am glad to join Congresswoman Sewell (D-AL) and my Democratic colleagues for the Restore the Vote: A Congressional Forum on the Current State of Voting Rights in America. This April, I will be hosting one of these forums in the East Bay.

As Members of Congress, we have a duty to listen to the American people and diligently work to ensure that their voting rights are not only protected by advanced and expanded.”


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Democrat Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity.