House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today commemorating the anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march on March 7, 1965, more commonly referred to as "Bloody Sunday":
"Forty-eight years ago today, 600 courageous young men and women marched for civil rights and an end to voter suppression in Selma, Alabama. They were met with batons and hoses as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way to the State Capitol in Montgomery. On that day, known as "Bloody Sunday,' these determined individuals were violently forced to turn back -- but the march for full rights and true democracy in America could never be halted. Because of the heroic actions of all who participated in the Civil Rights Movement, our democracy is stronger today, and every American's rights are more secure.
"I had the great privilege of joining Rep. John Lewis -- a friend and colleague who was one of the organizers of the 1965 march -- on a pilgrimage to Selma last weekend to commemorate the events of that day. Having been severely beaten at the head of the 1965 march, Rep. Lewis carries the physical scars of that experience to this day, just as our nation carries with it the bitter memories of slavery and Jim Crow.
"While that shameful period of our history is behind us, we must never stop working to advance the causes of justice, equality, and tolerance in our own day. As the Supreme Court considers whether to uphold a key section of the Voting Rights Act, which passed in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday, we must continue to speak out about the importance of ensuring every American's equal access to the ballot, which is the most fundamental instrument of our democracy and freedom."