Tensions escalated over the weekend at an historic church in Selma, Alabama when Alabama’s Secretary of State mentioned voter ID laws.
A number of elected officials and leaders gathered at the historic Brown Chapel in Selma on Sunday to commemorate “Bloody Sunday,” the day 52 years ago when African Americans marched to fight for voting rights and clashed with police who used tear gas to repel them and beat them with clubs.
Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill drew criticism when, during his speech, he mentioned voter ID laws.
“We want to make sure that every eligible U.S. citizen that is a resident of Alabama is registered to vote and has a photo ID so they can participate in the electoral process at [the] level that they want to participate,” Merrill said, according to The Blaze.
Many gathered at the church responded to this statement with shouts of dissent and some even got up and left the church altogether.
Dr. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP, who also spoke at the event, stated, “We cannot be polite about this. We can’t be casual or cavalier. We have more voter suppression in recent years than we’ve seen since Jim Crow.”
Some, like Barber, argue that requiring voters to present a photo ID is discriminatory against African-Americans and other minorities.
“Too much blood is on the pews of that church and in these walls for us to sit there and not at least say, ‘excuse me,’ not a cursing, but, ‘excuse me, Mr. Secretary of State, you’re wrong,'” Barber added.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: March 6, 2017