Adams Remembers “Bloody Sunday” and Honors the Late John LewisSpecial to the Peacemaker / March 11, 2021
Share this article:WASHINGTON, D.C. – Monday night, Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) honored the late Congressman and modern-day founding father, John Lewis, on the floor of the United States House of Representatives during a caporder hour commemorating the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama 56 years ago. Adams joined other members of the Congressional Black Caucus for the event, many of whom wore “Good Trouble” masks in honor of Lewis.
Congresswoman Adams represents North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District (Charlotte, Mecklenburg County). In 2015, she founded the first bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus in Congress. She is a double graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, the largest HBCU by enrollment in the United States.
Adams’ remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
“Today I rise to honor my colleague and friend, and a hero to us all, John Lewis, and to mark the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March.
When our country was founded almost 250 years ago, African Americans were denied full access and participation in society.
And we’ve been fighting to rectify those wrongs ever since.
Among the most important, influential agents of this mission was John Lewis, the “conscience of Congress” and the mastermind of “good trouble.”
A courageous, compassionate man who gave everything – including his blood and his body – to the Civil Rights Movement.
From Selma to the House of Representatives, John wasn’t afraid to put everything on the line for what he believed in.
56 years ago, he marched so people who looked like me could be full participants in our society.
56 years later, we are still fighting to be seen, heard, and counted in our democracy – a democracy we helped build.
For centuries, this country has made promises to marginalized communities that have gone unmet – promises of freedom, of equality, and of access to opportunity.
In my home state, discriminatory voter regulations plague our past and our present.
Most recently, we’ve experienced a decade of voter suppression laws that target minority voters ‘with surgical precision,’ and illegally gerrymandered maps that have thrown our elections into chaos.
Voting in North Carolina has never been treated as it should be – as a fundamental right for all citizens.
The For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will address this by cleaning up corruption in Washington and returning us to a government of, by, and for the people.
H.R.1 will protect and expand voting rights, restore integrity to government, and put the priorities of the American people ahead of special interests.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act provides the tools to address discriminatory election practices and protect all Americans’ right to vote.
These important bills are critical first steps towards healing our democracy.
I will not allow voter suppression to continue to be the norm in North Carolina or in our nation.
That’s why we must honor the legacy of our friend by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and sending both of these bills to the President’s desk.
Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act
On Tuesday, Adams voted to pass H.R. 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. This act will help rebuild the middle class by protecting workers’ basic right to join a union, holding employers accountable for violating workers’ rights and securing free, fair and safe union elections. It also ensures that workers can decide for themselves whether to exercise their right to form a union. According to workers’ rights advocates, this legislation is the most significant enhancement of workers’ rights since the New Deal.
This legislation would be the most significant upgrade for workers’ collective bargaining rights in more than 80 years. The PRO Act: Provides new tools to protect workers from anti-union intimidation and retaliation; Establishes stronger safeguards to ensure workers can hold free and fair union elections; and Introduces meaningful penalties for companies – and executives – that violate workers’ collective bargaining rights.
HBCU STEM Day
Adams also announced on Tuesday the companies joining the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Partnership Challenge for the fourth annual HBCU STEAM Day of Action held this week. This endeavor is a partnership to promote greater engagement and support between HBCUs and private companies.
“I am excited to announce that Diageo, Ford Motor Credit Company, The Hustlers Guild, Maximus, and Siemens are joining the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus’ HBCU Partnership Challenge. These companies recognize that diversity creates a stronger workforce, and that HBCUs play a critical role in creating the business leaders of the future,” said Congresswoman Adams, founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus. “There is no workplace diversity, especially within STEAM fields, without HBCUs. I am proud these companies are joining us at the fourth annual HBCU STEAM Day of Action to make a greater investment in their outreach to and partnership with HBCUs.”
Companies joining the partnership challenge are excited for the opportunity.
“We are honored to join the HBCU Partnership Challenge and view this as both the right thing to do and as a business imperative,” said Siemens USA President and CEO Barbara Humpton. “HBCUs are powerhouses for African American talent. Siemens is committed to expanding our recruiting efforts with HBCUs and partnerships like the HBCU Caucus dedicated to cultivating this talent.”
“As an HBCU grad, I’m proud of the partnership Diageo announced. This is an incredible step in furthering Diageo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion to colleges and universities that have a legacy of producing some of our most recognized leaders,” said Perry Jones, President, Diageo North America Supply and Grambling State University Alum. “I look forward to the development of new young leaders as a result of this investment in our HBCUs.”
The impact of HBCUs on our workforce is clear. HBCUs produce:
- 27 percent of all African American STEM graduates;
- 40 percent of all African American engineers;
- 50 percent of all African American lawyers;
- 50 percent of all African American public-school teachers; and
- 80 percent of all African American judges.