The first individual efforts by a CBC member will be a voter symposium hosted by Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.). Clay will be joined by Rev. Al Sharpton for an event on March 16 in his St. Louis district on voter suppression. There will also be voter registration and education at the event. The Missouri legislature is considering a new voter ID law that could pass in time for the November elections.
Sharpton, who hosts Politics Nation on MSNBC and the nationally syndicated radio program Keepin’ It Real, will broadcast from Alabama the week of the march. He and many members of Congress believe the voter suppression effort is an attempt to systematically roll back the gains of the Civil Rights movement.
“The drama of going back to Selma and staying every night where they stayed in 1965 creates a irrevocable picture to America that they are uprooting and undermining what was achieved in the Civil Rights movement,” Sharpton said.
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), speaking on the tie between the march and the larger Civil Rights movement, recounted a story of how her father taught her how to deal with the Ku Klux Klan.
“We cannot go back. Too many people fought and died like my daddy so that I could vote. So that I could exercise the right to vote and I refuse — I refuse to go back,” Wilson stated. “I will march with Rev. Sharpton, I will march with anyone who is trying to stop the clock from going back,” she declared.
Wilson also said she served in the Florida legislature for 12 years and no voter ID laws passed.
“All of a sudden after the 2008 election, these [voter ID laws] miraculously appear. Why? Because we have a Black President in the White House. It’s to stop all of the people of color from standing in line and from coming out to vote,” Wilson added, putting a strong tone of urgency on the issue.
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