On June 24, 2017, the 4th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s reversal of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, advocacy groups from across the country will come together in Selma, Ala. to embark on the “Ride to Revive” — a journey to the nation’s capital where they will endeavor to draw attention to and restore the invalidated section of the Voting Rights Act.
Upon their arrival to Washington, D.C. on June 27, the S.O.S. Movement for Justice & Democracy, along with a coalition of 41 organizations, including Women of Will and NAACP, will hold a rally a press conference at the U.S. Capitol to discuss the need for restoring Section 5.
“Every issue is a voting issue,” Catrena Norris Carter, one of the event’s organizers, said in a press release. “Many of the massive problems we face in the South and the Nation can be addressed by progressive voting rights laws and practices. Our democracy depends on us, the people and the South.”
The group will begin their trek at the historical Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma — the site which played a critical role in securing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
On March 7 of that year, a group of roughly 525 African American protesters planned to cross the bridge on their civil rights march to Montgomery to demand the right to vote. At the bridge they were met by more than 50 state troopers and a few dozen men on horseback. When the demonstrators refused to turn back, they were brutally beaten, leaving at least 17 hospitalized, and 40 others injured. The violent attack, dubbed “Bloody Sunday,” shocked the nation and galvanized Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act, the landmark piece of federal legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.
In the summer of 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated a section of the law — freeing Alabama and eight other states, mostly in the South, to change election laws without advance federal approval. Prior to that these nine states had to get “pre-clearance” from the U.S. Justice Department to make changes to voting districts.