Hillary Clinton and Democratic Hopefuls’ Powerful Remarks at Selma – Rolling Stone
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Hillary Clinton and Democratic Hopefuls Make Powerful Remarks in Selma

Clinton called for Americans to “redouble our efforts for the 21st-century civil rights movement”

Hillary Clinton speaks at a podium draped in a white cloth with a cross

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a commemorative service marking the anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" at Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala.,

Julie Bennett/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Hillary Clinton along with Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Julián Castro gathered with civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson to commemorate the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”—the day in 1965 when peaceful marchers were battered and teargassed by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Clinton was there to receive the 2019 International Unity Award and delivered a speech, saying, “We are living through a full-fledged crisis in our democracy.”

Clinton was harshly critical of the Trump administration, although she did not mention President Donald Trump by name. “This is a time, my friends, when fundamental rights, civic virtue, freedom of the press, the rule of law, truth, facts and reason are under assault.”

Clinton also focused on the erosion of voter rights. “We know candidates both black and white have lost their races because they have been deprived of the votes they otherwise would have gotten,” Clinton said, adding, “Stacey Abrams should be [the] governor leading [Georgia] right now.” Clinton also mentioned North Carolina, where “brazen schemes of voter fraud” occurred in the 2018 elections. She then called for Americans to “redouble our efforts for the 21st-century civil rights movement.”

Booker, who delivered the keynote, connected the moments in the civil rights movement to today, telling the crowd, “You can’t come to Selma to remember what happened in the past and leave here and forget the obligations of the present. We don’t honor our history by talking about it. We honor our history by letting it inform us in the work that we have to do.”

He also called upon Americans to advocate for justice: “It’s time for us to defend the dream. It’s time that we dare to dream again in America. That is what it takes to make America great. It is up to us to do the work that makes the dream real.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who has recently hinted he may enter the race and is on a “Dignity of Work” tour inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr., focused on his belief in populism and worker rights. He, too, emphasized the importance of voting rights. “Voting rights are always under attack. We know in Georgia, they stole the election from who should have been governor. They are afraid of what we will do with the vote,” he said.

When Yahoo News’s Hunter Walker spoke with Rev. Jesse Jackson at the event, he asked the civil rights leader what Trump “would have been doing” on that day in 1965 if he were in Selma. “Probably with the storm troopers,” Jackson replied.

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