US President Barack Obama said that the fight against racism in the US is not yet over, during a speech in Selma, Alabama on the 50th anniversary of the peaceful march of African Americans demanding the right to vote, which was the catalyst of the Voting Rights Act.
“We know the march is not yet over,” the president said to the thousands of people on the Edmund Pettus Bridge where the activists were harshly repressed by police in 1965, an incident that has gone down in history as “Bloody Sunday.”
“We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us,” Obama said.
The president referred to cases like that of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American who was shot and killed August last year on a street of Ferguson, Missouri, by a white policeman in an incident that sparked protests, disturbances and a national debate about police racism.
This week the Department of Justice published a report accusing the Ferguson Police Department of racial discrimination and of systematically violating the civil rights of the black population, with arrests for no apparent reason and the excessive use of force.
“Selma teaches us, too, that action requires that we shed our cynicism. For when it comes to the pursuit of justice, we can afford neither complacency nor despair,” the president said.