Moral activists to hold Selma voting rights town hall Sunday


Fifty-two years after the “Bloody Sunday” attacks on marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a group of moral activists will a hold town hall meeting in Selma Sunday to demand Congress fully restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The town hall, co-sponsored by Repairers of the Breach and Forward Justice, will also call on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, himself the former U.S. senator from Alabama, to take a public stand on the full restoration of the Act.

The event is open to the public and will be held 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. CT at the Dallas County Courthouse second floor courtroom, 102 N Lauderdale St. in Selma. Democratic State Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma will co-host and present at the town hall meeting.

Repairers of the Breach is a national organization to develop, train and support state-based moral movements. Forward Justice, a law, policy and strategy center dedicated to civil rights, racial justice, and social and economic change in the South.

Among the local leaders at the town hall include Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, and architect of the Moral Mondays movement; Attorney Penda Hair, legal director of Forward Justice; and Ari Berman, national voting rights advocate and author of “Give Us the Ballot.”

Barber and Hair have led statewide efforts in North Carolina to fight voter suppression tactics, including their recent work to secure “a federal appeals court victory that stopped extremist legislators’ efforts to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision,” as reported by The New York Times.

“This Sunday marks 1,349 days since the 2013 Supreme Court decision, Shelby County v. Holder, weakened Section 5 of the VRA, opening the door to voting law changes without federal pre-clearance in states with a history of discrimination,” Barber said in a statement. “The Republican-led Congress has refused to fix and fully restore the Voting Rights Act, which means we have less voting rights protections today than on Aug. 6, 1965 when the VRA was passed. We know claims of vast voter fraud are proven lies, but the courts have shown that voter suppression efforts are alive and well in our country. This is especially true in the South.”

On Friday, Barber, Hair, and a group of moral activists delivered an open letter to the Department of Justice calling on Sessions to take a public stand for the full restoration of the Voting Rights Act in 2017. The letter calls Sessions “to higher ground,” insisting that he use the office of Attorney General to “protect States and jurisdictions where extremist legislators are actively working to suppress black, brown and poor white voters.”