By Kaylee Pearlman
SELMA, ALABAMA – President Biden delivered a speech Sunday commemorating the 58th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” the day in 1965 when hundreds of unarmed civilians in a civil rights march were beaten, clubbed and whipped by white police officers.
The president, according to a copy of the written remarks provided by the White House, began, saying “my wife just got back from Zambia and Namibia…We just made sure we have billions of dollars committed to build Africa. We’re investing in Africa because Africa is important and because everything happening there will affect us.”
The speech continues with words taken from John Lewis, the late Congressman and a victim of a beating that day. “On this stage, ‘the children of god’ started a journey. ‘Walking…not saying a word…beaten, tear-gassed…On this bridge, blood was given to help ‘redeem the soul of America.’”
President Biden stated that “no matter how hard some people try, we can’t just choose to learn what we want to know…” He finished his thought, “…And everyone should know the truth of Selma.”
Biden added, “A promise that declares we’re all created and deserve to be treated equally. Two weeks later, they marched to Montgomery with Dr. King, an even bigger coalition of people from different races and faiths.
“Five months later, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law,” President Biden declared. “The right to vote…with it, anything is possible. Without it…nothing is possible…And this fundamental right remains under assault,” he continued.
The president added, “The new law here in Alabama…enacted a new congressional map that discriminated against Black voters by failing to include what should’ve been a new predominately Black district.”
“We must remain vigilant,” argues the U.S. president, adding, “In January, I signed the Electoral Count Reform Act…to protect the will of the people…and the peaceful transfer of power.”
President Biden noted, “And together, we’re saying loud and clearly that, in America, hate and extremism will not prevail. Silence is complicity. Now, I promise you my administration will not remain silent. I promise you.”
President Biden finished with, “My message to you is this: We see you. We’re fighting to make sure no one is left behind. In many of your faith traditions, Sunday is the Sabbath, a day of rest.”
He adds, “But on that Sunday morning, on March 7, 1965, Amelia Boynont Robinson and 600 of her fellow children of God chose different pews. On this bridge of her beloved Selma, they were called to the altar of democracy, unsure of their fate but certain that the cause was righteous.”
“We know where we’ve been and we know…where we have to go: forward. Let’s keep marching. Let’s keep the faith. Let’s remember who we are. We’re the United States of America, and there’s…nothing beyond our capacity when we act together,” he stated as he finished the speech.