This weekend marked the 49th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama march that grew out of voter registration movements spearheaded by SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Lawyers from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, including President & Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill; Director of the Washington D.C. office Leslie Proll; and the Political Participation Group (Ryan P. Haygood, Natasha Korgaonkar, Leah Aden, and Deuel Ross) traveled to Selma, Alabama to pay homage to those who marched and fought for the right to vote and to discuss the future of America’s important voting protections.
“We continue to urge the Senate to strengthen and ultimately pass the proposed Voting Rights Amendment Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that was introduced in response to the Supreme Court’s devastating decision last June in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. At this very moment, millions of voters of color are even more vulnerable to voting discrimination in the wake of that decision. This bill, though not perfect, is measured, flexible and forward-looking, and will provide us with some of the protections we lost last year,” said Ryan P. Haygood, Director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Political Participation Group.
“As we commemorate the historic day, we are also mindful of a tremendous setback we suffered in the Senate this week. The United States Senate failed to confirm Debo Adegbile, the former Acting Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, for the position of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice. Although he is the preeminent civil rights lawyer of his generation, he was subjected to an unfair smear campaign based on a capital case the NAACP Legal Defense Fund took on during Mr. Adegbile’s tenure here. As one of the nation’s leading civil rights lawyers, Mr. Adegbile was superbly qualified to enforce the nation’s civil rights laws. With his depth and breadth of experience, there was simply no candidate more qualified for the position,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.