Today, Gabrielle Liwaru, Benito Sanchez, Kevin Lytle and I will be joining thousands of others Americans in the historic Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March. It commemorates the 1965 voting rights marches which were a key moment in the civil rights movement and led to the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act. But the 2012 March isn’t only about history; it’s about rejecting today’s voter suppression laws and notoriously harmful immigration-related laws like Alabama’s, Arizona’s and others. It’s about standing up for those same civil rights that they marched for 47 years ago.
Current state and local immigration enforcement laws like those of Alabama, Arizona, and Fremont – as well as voter suppression bills introduced nationwide – are raising critical issues for our communities and our country. This year’s march asks whether we will choose to move forward or backward in the ongoing struggle for civil rights.
How Alabama’s legislature responds, and pending decisions before federal district courts and the Supreme Court on immigration laws like Alabama’s and Arizona’s, will hold profound implications for all communities and the direction of civil rights in America.