Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor supporting civil rights for all Americans. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Forty-seven years ago today, a group of 600 freedom-loving men and women set out on a march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, calling for an end to discrimination and violence against African Americans.
Among those peaceful protesters was Congressman John Lewis, a truly great civil rights leader and my good friend.
Only six blocks from the church where the march began, they were met at the Edmund Pettus Bridge by police dogs, fire hoses and billy clubs.
The terrible violence of that day – known as Bloody Sunday – was broadcast across the country.
March 1965 marked a turning point in the Civil Rights movement, as Americans cried out against the injustice and bloodshed they saw on television.
Later that month, more than 25,000 courageous souls finally completed the 12-mile march from Selma to Montgomery that began on Bloody Sunday.
And six months later President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Last year, I was privileged to lock arms with Congressman Lewis and Congressman Jim Clyburn, two men whom I admire deeply, as we reenacted the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
It was a humbling experience, and one I will never forget.
On this day, I think we should all pause to recognize that, that while we have come a long way together, we still have a long way to go to guarantee the civil rights of every American.