Section 5 supporters gather on AL Capitol steps; suggestion made - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Section 5 supporters gather on AL Capitol steps; suggestion made to boycott Shelby Co.

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Sen. Hank Sanders discusses the challenge to save Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Sen. Hank Sanders discusses the challenge to save Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Members of The National Coalition of Leaders to Save Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act held a news conference Thursday on the steps of the Alabama Capitol to voice their outrage at the United States Supreme Court's destruction of the Voting Rights Act. 

Leaders discussed the continuing struggle to protect voting rights in America and vowed to continue to fight to Save Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and to protect all Americans' right to vote.

Wednesday, in its ruling in SShelby County, Alabama v. Holder, et al., the United States Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by striking down Section 4 of the Act and effectively invalidating Section 5, which is the heart of the Voting Rights.  Just two days later, state and local elected officials and other leaders stood together on the same steps where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood less than 50 years ago, on March 25, 1965, as he fought for voting rights for all Americans as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. 

Senator Hank Sanders (D-Selma)

"This is the most destructive decision of the United States Supreme Court in my lifetime.  It destroys the very foundation upon which the political progress of the last 48 years is constructed.  We must leave no stone unturned in mobilize people to not only put press on the U.S. Congress, but also to vote in record numbers and to take every conceivable action under the law to reverse this dangerous tide.  Voting is THE right that protects all other rights.  Without the right to vote, all other rights suffer and are at risk."

Johnny Ford - Mayor of Tuskegee

"The gravity of the Supreme Court's destruction of the Voting Rights Act weighs down everything, and that weight will only grow heavier and more damaging.  While America has made progress since the Voting Rights Act became law in 1965, it has not progressed enough since 1965 to justify the destruction of the Voting Rights Act.  We in Macon County can attest firsthand that our voting rights are being denied right this second as I speak.  The voters of Macon County voted overwhelmingly and legally to pass an amendment to our state's constitution that authorizes bingo in Macon County.  Yet still today, one man, Attorney General Luther Strange, is able to illegally ignore Alabama law to wrongfully deny the people of Macon County their constitutional rights."

Dr. Joe reed, chairman of Alabama democratic conference

"And yet just this week, we read that Alabama's United States Senator Jeff Sessions said, ‘I'm just not aware of any discrimination of that kind. And if it happens I have no doubt that the Alabama attorney general would prosecute it or the U.S. Department of Justice will.'  If Jeff Sessions isn't aware of any voter discrimination in Alabama, it is only because he, like Luther Strange, chooses to ignore the law and what is happening in Alabama. They close their eyes to the discrimination that is taking place in Alabama and beyond.  Justice is supposed to be blind, but instead it is colorblind."

Faya Rose Toure' - Selma attorney (wife of sen. Sanders)

"It is not enough for us to simply pressure Congress to make another change in the Voting Rights Act.  We must go far beyond that, starting with a boycott of Shelby County, where individuals conspired to destroy the Voting Rights Act – not just in Alabama, but also across America.  We must consider all alternatives to keep us from going back to the days of old."

Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile)

"Today is one moment in a movement that was begun long before any of us were born. This moment is just one small part of an ongoing movement to protect voting rights across our state and our nation. Too many Americans gave their lives in the struggle for the right to vote for us to now allow that constitutional right to be destroyed in our lifetimes."

Senator Bobby Singleton (D-Mobile) said,

"The 15th Amendment to the Constitution mandates that the ‘right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.' Even though the 15th Amendment was ratified on February 3, 1870, the right to vote guaranteed by the 15th Amendment was denied African Americans in the South and to minorities in other parts of America for nearly 100 years. Poll taxes, literacy tests and instruments of Jim Crow were used to disenfranchise African Americans.  It took passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for African Americans in the South to be allowed to register to vote and cast a vote.  And this week, the United States Supreme Court destroyed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  We stand here today because we are united in the fight to protect Americans' constitutional right to vote, and we will never stop working until that right is secure."

INFORMATION SOURCE: The National Coalition of Leaders to Save Section 5

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