Civil rights Saturday open line | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Civil rights Saturday open line

Posted By on Sat, Mar 7, 2015 at 5:32 PM

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Thousands marched across the historic Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Ala., today, led by President Obama and former President George W. Bush.

Twitter provided photos from onlookers and the Obama organization of the crowd and the president embracing the heroic Rep. John Lewis, who was beaten there 50 years ago. Missing were most Republican members of Congress. It's probably just as well since most of them stand in the way of renewal of the voting rights act that the civil rights warriors won with grit, toil and blood. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key part of it and the Republican Congress hasn't indicated a desire to fix it. (2nd District Ark. Congressman French Hill tweeted from the event.)

The day is a reminder, too, as many have noted, that the fight for equality under the law goes on — not only for people of color (see the recent Justice Department reviews of racially biased police agencies) but also for people of minority sexuality. Alabama is particularly noteworthy — and Arkansas is not far behind — in resisting the march toward equality for gay people and other sexual minorities. In Alabama, the resistance includes that state's top court's defiance of a federal court. In Arkansas, legislators like Bart Hester are leading the effort to protect those who discriminate.

I wrote the other day of events in the 1960s. A critical reader commented that those days were long ago and irrelevant to current events.

Think so?

The line is open. 

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