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Today, President Joe Biden embarks on a historic journey to Selma, Alabama, in honor of the 58th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday. In 1965, this event shocked the Nation when civil rights pioneers like John Lewis were met with merciless force by state troopers as they peacefully marched for voting equality across Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Bloody Sunday and the Fight for Voting Rights

Although heinous acts of legalized white supremacy took place that day, upon witnessing unnecessary violence against Black Americans who simply wanted equal access to the ballot box, many Americans rose up from coast-to-coast pushing Congress to sign off on landmark legislation providing necessary protection against racial discrimination at polls nationwide in The Voting Rights Act 1965

President Biden To Travel to Selma for Bloody Sunday 58th Anniversary
An Alabama state trooper swings a club at John Lewis, right foreground, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, to break up a civil rights voting march in Selma, Ala., March 7, 1965. (AP Photo/File)

Today, despite every American’s right to vote being constitutionally protected, many states have developed regressive voting laws that stifle the voices of their Black constituents. 

Since the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and Freedom to Vote Act was introduced, Senate Republicans have made a bold move by declining to stand behind their own party’s 1965 proposed legislation. 

Failing to Pass Voter Protection Legislation after 58 years after Bloody Sunday

In 2021, after a narrow vote of 50-49 to pass the legislation that would expand voting rights and access for traditionally underserved communities, it fell short of the required 60 votes needed in order to move forward. The Republican Party remains strongly opposed to these enhancements, which could have major implications for future elections across the US for Black Americans. 

Voter Rights Progress in Biden-Harris Administration

In December 2022, President Biden ushered in a new era of fair and secure elections by signing the Electoral Count Reform Act. The law sets out clear protocols to ensure the US electoral process accurately reflects the voice of Americans, safeguarding against further disruptions like those encountered on January 6th.  

To uphold democracy in America, Congress must demonstrate the same strength and determination it did when securing various reforms to pass legislation like John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and Freedom to Vote Act. According to the White House, President Biden is for getting rid of the filibuster so that a minority can’t stymie the movement for voting rights for all Americans. 

Today, residents of Selma and those who traveled to the city to comemorate the 58th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday expect the president to address the ongoing issue of voter suppression.

Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times and a descendant of two families that survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Although his publication’s store and newsroom...

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