Resistance to Black Americans registering to vote reached a bloody apex in Selma, Alabama 50 years ago on March 7, 1965, or “Bloody Sunday”. During a student-led voting rights march, more than 600 people, including current US Congressman John Lewis, were brutally beaten by police.

Congressman John Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965

Congressman John Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965

Television and newspaper images of peaceful protestors being viciously attacked by local law enforcement startled a nation and moved a president to pass the Voting Rights Act.

While activists won huge victories, Selma reminds us how far we’ve come, but also how far we have yet to go. Black people still suffer from state-sanctioned intimidation and violence. The Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act and state legislatures around the country–including our own–are looking to undo the work of Congressman Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr, and others by erecting more barriers between eligible voters and the ballot box.

There are many ways to honor the legacy of the Selma activists, but one simple form of resistance is registering to vote.

They wouldn’t try to take your right to vote away if it wasn’t so powerful. So take a minute and register. If you’ve already registered, do you need to update your address, or your name? Are you changing political parties? You can also forward this email to a friend and remind them that people 50 years ago shed tears and blood to protect our sacred right to vote. Let’s not take it for granted.