Now is the time for us to speak out, join together and reclaim the promise of America. That starts by educating our students about the impact of the civil rights movement, acting collectively to achieve a renewal of the Voting Rights Act and redoubling our efforts to ensure all children grow up in safe communities with high-quality neighborhood public schools.
This weekend I am honored and humbled to join President Obama and the rest of the First Family, Congressman and Civil Rights hero John Lewis, dozens of my other Congressional colleagues and thousands of people from around the country as we gather in Selma, Alabama to mark the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
When our leaders say they honor those who were hospitalized for peaceful protest 50 years ago, will they also commit to fighting against discrimination and violence at the hands of those meant to serve and protect our communities? Selma is now, and the march continues.
The sad reality is that -- despite the considerable progress made in the last five decades -- we are still fighting to ensure voting rights for every American.
We cannot stay complacent or silent in the face of restrictive voting laws. The best way for us to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Selma is to recreate the energy that forced Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act in the first place.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, we must not forget that the fight for equal voting rights in the U.S. is far from over.
Honoring the foot soldiers of Selma is a great step forward on the march toward justice for those who sacrificed for us. However, the momentum must continue. There must be just as strong a showing of bipartisan support to fix the legislation for which they sacrificed, starting with congressional hearings and votes to move the bill forward.
I never get when people say, "I have no regrets." I will continue to apologize forever for my idiocy.
We cannot raise awareness about the heroines and heroes of history, and then turn around and be cowards 50 years later. This Congress must deal with overt moves among states to obstruct people's right to vote, and they must restore federal protections of voting rights.
As we get ready to commemorate Dr. King and so many others who marched to Selma, I would argue that George W. Bush has forfeited the right to march. He does not get to partake in such a solemn and sacred time in our history that moved us forward as a nation when all he did was set us back.
Fifty years after the bloody Selma march shocked Johnson and the nation into taking fast track action to right a glaring historic wrong, namely the denial of the right to vote to millions in America, that right is still under intense assault. This is why we still need a Selma today.
Since 2009, Holder has exercised the powers of his office not merely to preserve the Justice Department as a static institution, as many of his predecessors have done, but to mobilize it as a force for proactive change.
As our nation's first popularly elected African American Senator, Senator Brooke claimed his seat at the table of government and paved the way for the election of African Americans across the country, including President Barack Obama and me.
By committing to the fundamental nature of the right to vote, our political leaders can instead focus on what they should do in elections: trying to earn votes from eligible voters, rather than trying to game voter eligibility and access.
Our democracy is built on the core principle of a government of the people, by the people and for the people, where all of us get an equal say over who gets elected and the government decisions that affect our lives.
Clinton in 2016 could have the same effect as Reagan in 1980 and 1984: recruiting Democratic candidates, inspiring Democratic supporters and winning an electoral landslide. Reagan would be embarrassed by Republicans today.