Rev. Al Sharpton will lead a march in Montgomery, Alabama Friday, in a bid to highlight what he and his supporters say are assaults on voting and immigration rights.
The march will culminate in a rally at the Alabama state capitol at 2 p.m.
Sharpton, who is host of MSNBC’s Politics Nation, heads the National Action Network (NAN), which has held five days of marches commemorating the anniversary of the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, which were met with violent response from police and members of the Alabama National Guard on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. (theGrio and MSNBC are divisions of NBC News.)
NAN and other civil rights and civil liberties groups object to what they call a “draconian” anti-immigration law passed in Alabama last year, as well as voter ID laws that have passed in 34 states, which the groups say could disenfranchise up to 5 million minority and young voters.
“The right has geared up to suppress the vote,” Sharpton said in a press release in advance of Friday’s event, “What was fought for and won in Selma to Montgomery has never had such a frontal attack as today. We need to get back on the streets and fight for what we fought for in 1965.”
Among those participating in Friday’s event are a collection of labor and civil rights organizations, including the AFL-CIO and AFSCME unions, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the NAACP, National Organization for Women (NOW), National Urban League (NUL), SCLC (Southern Christian leadership Conference), The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and Communications Workers of America (CWA).
Martin Luther King III and singer Tyrese Gibson were also slated to participate.
Republicans claim voter ID laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, but opponents of the laws point out that there has been almost no voter fraud prosecuted in the U.S.