U.S. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama on Tuesday took to the Senate floor to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham and to call for unity in the wake of civil rights protests this summer.
As U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Senator Jones successfully prosecuted two of the former Klansmen responsible for the bombing.
“Four young girls were killed in that blast. Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Denise McNair and Carole Robertson. Killed senselessly simply because of the color of their skin,” Jones said.
He continued: “That bomb woke the conscience of America. The horrors of Jim Crow and segregation came home to roost, came home to the television sets across this country, and people stood up and made their voices known and said enough is enough – not just to Birmingham and the South, but enough is enough in this country.”
Jones urged the country to not overlook the historic moment that we are in today, “where once again our conscience is getting the best of us, where we see the images of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and Jacob Blake, but we also see something else. We see the images of violence. We see looting. We see the images of two police officers in Los Angeles who were brutally, brutally attacked while just sitting in their car.”
Jones continued. “It is incumbent upon us all to do something about it… to have the frank discussions about what we know is going on in law enforcement, but also the violence that we see in the streets. And it’s got to stop.”
“We have to come together. We have to do what John Lewis talked about and make sure that love conquers hate,” he concluded. “We need to remember our faith, folks. We need to remember who we are as a country.”
You can view Senator Jones’ speech here.