Daniel Reilly, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today commemorating the anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march on March 7, 1965, more commonly referred to as “Bloody Sunday”:
“On this day in 1965, 600 men and women marched from the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama, on their way to the state capitol in Montgomery. They marched for freedom and the right to vote that had been denied them. As they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way out of town, they were met with the violence borne from bigotry and forced to turn back. My friend and esteemed colleague, John Lewis, who led the march along with Hosea Williams, was beaten nearly to death. However, their determination to be heard and to participate in our democracy could never be turned back. The sad events of that day, which became known as ‘Bloody Sunday,’ were broadcast across America, opening the eyes of millions to the injustices of Jim Crow. Later that month, thousands gathered in solidarity and with faith in the promise of America, setting out from that same place and together they walked across that bridge, to the state capitol in Montgomery, and into the pages of history.
“I have traveled to Selma nine times to participate in a recreation of that march and celebrate the heroism of those who stood solemn in the face of terror on that Bloody Sunday. I returned from my most recent visit this past weekend, and the lesson I always carry home with me is something John wrote in his memoir, Walking With the Wind. He says: ‘If you want to create an open society, your means must also be consistent with the society you want to create. Means and ends are absolutely inseparable. Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. Anger begets anger, every minute of the day, in the smallest of moments as well as the largest.’ Let us heed that lesson as we remember the difficult steps we have taken as a nation to ensure that all of our citizens can participate in our democracy.
“I join in marking this anniversary and thanking the heroes of Selma for their courage in the march forward toward a more perfect union.”