MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Many members of Congress and some presidential candidates were in Selma on Sunday, commemorating Bloody Sunday.
Some of the high profile figures in Selma included former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton, and U.S. senators and presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker.
The well-known politicians gathered at Wallace Community College in Selma on Saturday for a unity breakfast. The breakfast has been a part of Selma’s Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee since 2006.
Those in attendance reflected on the attack by law enforcement officers on the marchers who attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. The attack, now known as ‘Bloody Sunday,’ led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“We’re here to honor the legacy of those that fought, died and bled for the right for us to vote, and we must do our part in 2019," Congresswoman Terri Sewell said.
“The right to vote powers the changes we seek and the future we envision," Clinton said. "It is wrong to prevent, undermine and inhibit any Americans right to vote. It violates our constitution and our values.”
The speeches given at the event all focused on voting rights and voter suppression, something that many of the high-profile politicians said is still prevalent today.
During her speech, Clinton addressed the Supreme Court’s decision in 2013 to remove a section of the country’s Voting Rights Act. The part the Supreme Court removed required states with a history of racial discrimination to get federal approval before changing their voting laws.
“We see all of the phony obstacles to register. We see all of the suppressive efforts at the point of registration, and even at the point of voting. We see the malfunctioning equipment. We see the longer lines. We see how all of this is designed to discourage, to depress and to prevent people from voting, particularly communities of color," Clinton said.
With voter suppression being at the forefront of the 2020 presidential election, both Sanders and Booker wasted no time making statements on the topic.
“How sad it is that 54 years later, we are still fighting for the right to vote?" Sanders said. “If you are 18 years of age, and an American citizen, you have the right to vote... and no state official and no local official will stop you.”
“You can’t come to Selma to remember what happened in the past and leave here and forget the obligations of the present," Booker said. “We live in a nation that is failing its moral obligation to its children, to its people and to the communities in which we live.”
On the topic of voting rights and voter suppression, Sewell said “the best way we can pay it forward to all those foot soldiers who sacrificed, who bled, who prayed and who marched, is that we indeed fully restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
At the event, Clinton was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame at the National Voting Rights Museum, and was awarded with the 2019 International Unity Award.