On 50th Anniversary of Selma, ADL Calls on Congressional Leaders to Protect the Right to Vote

New York, NY, March 6, 2015 … As America marks the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march from Selma to Montgomery, a day that would change the course of civil rights history, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on elected officials to celebrate the progress we have made in guaranteeing voting rights and act today to protect the right to vote.

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Fifty years ago, the world watched in horror as police brutally attacked nonviolent marchers in Selma who were seeking the right to vote. That day helped spur Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most important and effective pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed.

For decades, the Voting Rights Act helped to secure the fundamental right to vote for millions of Americans, but in 2013 the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the law, essentially gutting the heart of the legislation. The Court explicitly left it to Congress to restore those crucial voting protections.

As we mark the 50th anniversary of Selma, it is not enough to simply commemorate the day as a historic event. To honor the people who literally gave their blood, sweat and tears to bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice, we must redouble our efforts to protect the fundamental right to vote for all today.

We call on all members of Congress - whether they are marching in Selma or watching from afar - to pass voting rights legislation that will ensure that all Americans will have the right to participate fully in our democracy.

ADL has continually supported the Voting Rights Act, including filing an amicus brief in Shelby County v. Holder, the case in which the Supreme Court struck down key pieces of the legislation. The League has urged Congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act, which would restore fundamental voting rights, has created resources for the 50th anniversary of Selma, and has written a high school curriculum for students to learn about the history of Bloody Sunday and voting rights today.

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