HAPPENING NOW: NAACP Members Arrested After Sit-In Protesting Trump Nominee

HAPPENING NOW: NAACP Members Arrested After Sit-In Protesting Trump Nominee

These NAACP leaders know what they have to do to prevent Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions from becoming Donald Trump’s attorney general. And, after seven hours, they were arrested for refusing to leave Sessions’ office.

and the naacp has good reason to be concerned about sessions

When NAACP president Cornell William Brooks and several of his colleagues led the sit-in at Session’s Mobile, Alabama office, they knew what they were up against, according to Vox.

Brooks announced the sit-in on Tuesday.

The NAACP plans to conduct a number of protests against the senator’s nomination, and protests will be held in five of Session’s Alabama offices—Mobile, Huntsville, Dothan, Birmingham and Montgomery.

“As a matter of conscience and conviction, we can neither be mute nor mumble our opposition to Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions becoming attorney general of the United States,” Brooks said in a statement. “Sen. Sessions has callously ignored the reality of voter suppression but zealously prosecuted innocent civil rights leaders on trumped-up charges of voter fraud. As an opponent of the vote, he can’t be trusted to be the chief law enforcement officer for voting rights.”

And the NAACP has good reasons to go public in fighting Session’s nomination. For decades, the organization has worked to protect the voting rights of black Americans, something that states like Alabama have rigorously and historically oppressed. Sessions has repeatedly argued against providing even the most basic voting protections for black people. If his nomination passes in the Senate, he’ll be at the reins of the one federal agency that’s in charge of protecting people’s voting rights.

Voting rights were founded during the civil rights movement of the 1960s thanks to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The law enabled the federal government to monitor state-run elections, especially in states that are historically known to discriminate against African-American voters. The passage and enforcement of this law led to huge improvements in black voter registration and turnout, especially in Southern states, Vox reports.

Sessions apparently doesn’t have a favorable opinion of the law. He has called the Voting Rights Act a “piece of intrusive legislation.” And when a Supreme Court decision in 2013 hugely weakened the Voting Rights Act, he fought efforts to update the law so the federal government could continue to supervise voting laws in states with histories of discrimination.

He even flatly denied that Shelby County, Alabama—which challenged the Voting Rights Act in the Supreme Court—ever even had a history of racial discrimination.

“Shelby County has never had a history of denying voters and certainly not now,” he declared after the 2013 Supreme Court ruling.

So it’s no wonder that Brooks and his fellow NAACP members are upset.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, is also concerned, since he served as defense for community activists that Sessions prosecuted in the past. This prompted him to send a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, asking them to oppose Session’s nomination.

And so far, more than a dozen NAACP members are occupying Session’s Mobile office and are asking him to turn down his controversial nomination, The New York Daily News reports.

“Our objective is certainly to stop his nomination,” said Bernard Simelton, president of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP. “But our objective is also to get out the word to people in power to stop it,” he told the Daily News.

According to Simelton, he and his fellow protesters arrived at around 11:30 a.m. and were planning to stay all day—or leave in handcuffs.

When Trump picked Session’s to be his Attorney General, the move spurred immediate rebukes due to Session’s opposition to civil rights causes.

Related:  ‘Unacceptable Record’: Over 1100 Law Professors Pound Trump’s AG Pick With Defiant Letter

In earlier years he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to become a federal judge, but after accusations surfaced that said he made racist remarks, he lost the nomination. And an African-American former colleague of the senator said Sessions referred to civil rights groups, including the NAACP, as “un-American” and “communist inspired.” And for reasons known only to Sessions, he said he was “Okay” with the Ku Klux Klan until he learned that some members smoked marijuana. Sessions has denied these allegations.

He is known to be a staunch conservative in the Senate. He’s opposed Obamacare, the legalization of marijuana, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and each one of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees.

But for Simelton, that’s only the half of it.

“It’s not only about how America fares,” he said. “It’s about how other countries will look to us on human and civil rights.”

Hezekiah Jackson, head of the Birmingham NAACP noted that his group has little faith in Sessions. Following a press conference there, his group held a demonstration.

“We have found no evidence of his ability, past or present, to be impartial and unbiased as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America, especially in the areas of civil rights, voting rights and equal protection under the law,” Jackson said.

Sessions wasn’t in his Mobile office at the time of the sit-in and representatives there declined to answer questions and instead referred The News to his Washington, D.C. office, which didn’t answer calls.

His Senate confirmation hearing is set for Jan. 10.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wants Sessions’ hearing to be delayed, she said, because the senator submitted more than 150,000 pages of material for review, but seemingly put it together “in haste,” leaving his file “incomplete.”

This should serve as a wake up call, especially for people of color. If Sessions becomes Attorney General, our voting rights may be assailed like never before. So let’s hope the protests and sit-ins are effective. Because clearly, a hell of a lot is at stake.

Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images

raptorella37@gmail.com'

Megan was born and raised in Ventura, California. She has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While she has always been a liberal, her travels have informed her politics. She has worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist writing about crime, the police, local politics, feature stories, environmental issues and a variety of other topics. She now writes for Reverb Press.

Megan supports Black Lives Matter and fights against racism, sexism, the corporatocracy, climate change deniers and others who continue to destroy the planet.

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raptorella37@gmail.com'

Megan was born and raised in Ventura, California. She has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While she has always been a liberal, her travels have informed her politics. She has worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist writing about crime, the police, local politics, feature stories, environmental issues and a variety of other topics. She now writes for Reverb Press.

Megan supports Black Lives Matter and fights against racism, sexism, the corporatocracy, climate change deniers and others who continue to destroy the planet.

ReverbPress Mobile Apps ReverbPress iOS App ReverbPress Android App ReverbPress App