March 7, 2015

Speaker Heastie Statement Observing the 50th Anniversary of the First Selma to Montgomery March for Civil Rights

Fifty years ago today, the world watched in horror as Alabama law enforcement officers led by Sheriff Jim Clark brutally assaulted some 600 civil rights demonstrators peacefully marching from Selma to Montgomery to protest the denial of voting rights to African American citizens. A pivotal moment in American history, “Bloody Sunday” paved the way for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to complete the march two weeks later, which in turn inspired passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Fifty years later, we are still a long way from the America of which we dream and the journey before us remains fraught with suffering, violence and inequality, but we will march forward.

On this solemn occasion, we recall not only the myriad casualties of hatred and corruption, but also the heroism of those courageous few who sacrificed themselves over the years to ensure justice for all. As our nation struggles to address the inequities that continue to plague our Democracy, let us remember the admonition of Dr. King: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”