Tag: U.S. Capitol

Selma “Foot Soldiers” from 1965 Civil Rights Marches Receive The Congressional Gold Medal

Aided by Father James Robinson, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., center, and John Lewis of the Voter Education Project, a crowd estimated by police at 5,000, march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma, Alabama Saturday, March 8, 1975. The march commemorated the decade since the violent struggle for voting rights began in 1965 with “Bloody Sunday” at the bridge as police tried to stop a march to Montgomery. (AP Photo)
Aided by Father James Robinson, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., center, and John Lewis of the Voter Education Project, a crowd estimated by police at 5,000, march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma, Alabama Saturday, March 8, 1965. The march commemorated the decade since the violent struggle for voting rights began in 1965 with “Bloody Sunday” at the bridge as police tried to stop a march to Montgomery. (AP Photo)

article via newsone.com

On Wednesday, Congressional leaders honored the “Foot Soldiers” of the Selma to Montgomery Marches in 1965 with the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Anecdotally, Paul Ryan – Speaker of the House of Representatives, who also spoke during the ceremony and praised the foot soldiers for their part in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – will not act on a bill to restore the Voting Rights Act that was essentially gutted by the Supreme Court nearly two years ago.

The ceremony, held in the U.S. Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, featured speeches by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and Rev. Frederick D. Reese, the former president of the Dallas County Voters League.

Thursday morning, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), who introduced the bill to honor the foot soldiers; Charles Mauldin, former president of the Student Movement; and Joyce O’Neal, a member of the Student Movement, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the award.

Rep. Sewell told Martin, “Yesterday was about making sure this nation’s history is righting a wrong, they (the foot soldiers) should be given all of the credit [for] forcing this nation to live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all.”

Congresswoman Sewell continued, “I think it’s up to us, this generation and future generations, to continue the fight,”because there is so much more needed to be done to “strengthen the Voting Rights Act.”

In reflecting on yesterday’s ceremony, Mauldin thanked Congresswoman Sewell for introducing the bill and said, “This is probably the first time in about 51 years in my being involved in things that we’ve gotten recognition” from government officials.

He added, “We are certainly invited to the protests to demonstrate, but seldomly invited to the celebration. This is the first time that people like us have been invited to the celebration.”

To read more, go to: http://newsone.com/3359436/selma-foot-soldiers-receive-the-congressional-gold-medal/

Congressional Staffers Walk Out of U.S. Capitol in Protest of Police Killings

congress walkout

WASHINGTON — Dozens of congressional staffers walked out of their offices Thursday afternoon to show solidarity with demonstrators who are protesting the decisions not to indict police officers who killed Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Just after 3:30 p.m., the staffers stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with their hands raised in the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture. In interviews, the staffers said they felt the need to express their support for demonstrators calling for police accountability for officers who take the lives of unarmed black men and women.

“We’re coming out here to let them know, no, it’s not business as usual, our lives matter, we’re asserting our humanity and our dignity,” one congressional staffer told The Huffington Post.

“Even though we go to work in these prestigious buildings among prestigious people, we go home and we’re still profiled, we still are part of those statistics,” the staffer added. “It could have been any one of us who was Eric Garner, who was Mike Brown.”

Most staffers did not speak to the press, and none who did agreed to give their names.

Another staffer said that while there may be longterm changes that come about as a result of the protest movement, it was important to assert that it was wrong to allow police officers to take lives without being held accountable.

“They want to put cameras on police officers, which is a great idea, but the Eric Garner case was seen on live TV; the entire world saw it,” said one young black congressional staffer who participated in the walkout. “President Obama said protests are necessary. This is a necessary protest.”

congress walkout

Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), who took part in the demonstration, said the protest represented “the best of American democracy.” He said he hoped the effort had bipartisan support, and pointed out that a majority of Americans now support some reforms, like having body cameras on police, even in places “thought to be conservative,” like Texas.

The walkout was planned by the Congressional Black Associates, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association.

article by Dana Liebelson and Ryan J. Reilly via huffingtonpost.com

Frederick Douglass Statue Unveiled in Washington DC

The Frederick Douglass Statue in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol Visitors Center, at the U.S. Capitol, on June 19, 2013 in Washington, DC. Congressional leaders dedicated the statue during a ceremony on Wednesday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The Frederick Douglass Statue in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol Visitors Center, at the U.S. Capitol, on June 19, 2013 in Washington, DC. Congressional leaders dedicated the statue during a ceremony on Wednesday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is hailing Frederick Douglass for his work to bring about equal justice, leading a series of tributes at the unveiling of a statue of the 19th-century orator and writer.

Biden, along with Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, used the U.S. Capitol ceremony to call for equal voting rights for citizens of the District of Columbia — an issue dear to Douglass’ heart. Biden said the people of the District “made the right choice” in selecting Douglass as their representative.

The 7-foot bronze likeness of Douglass joins sculpted statues of fellow blacks Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and Sojourner Truth in Emancipation Hall. Douglass was born a slave in 1818 in Talbot County, Md. and advised President Abraham Lincoln.

Related Article: Frederick Douglass Statue To Be Moved To The U.S. Capitol

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

Frederick Douglass Statue To Be Moved To The U.S. Capitol

Frederick Douglass (file photo)

Frederick Douglass (file photo)

The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday night approved a resolution that will move the bust of Frederick Douglass to the Capitol, making him only the third African-American to be so honored. The other two: Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sojourner Truth. There are 180 busts on display at the Capitol. Continue reading “Frederick Douglass Statue To Be Moved To The U.S. Capitol”