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With Direct Action In Alabama, NAACP Escalates Growing Opposition to Sessions Nomination

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Yesterday, leaders from the NAACP showed the intensity of their opposition to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) nomination to be the next United States’ Attorney General by occupying his Congressional office in Mobile, Alabama.

“We are engaging in a voluntary act of civil disobedience,” Cornell William Brooks, the national president of the NAACP, told police before his arrest. Also arrested were the NAACP’s Alabama State Conference President Benard Simelton, Humanity in Action Fellow Devon Crawford, the President of the NAACP Mobile Chapter 5044 Lizzetta McConnell, National Director of the Youth and College Division of NAACP Stephen Green and Joe Keffer, were arrested by local authorities. All were charged with “second-degree criminal trespassing” according to AL.com.

The New York Times reports:

Almost two dozen civil rights activists occupied the office around 11 a.m. to denounce what they called the senator’s “hostile” attitude toward civil rights and the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened by a Supreme Court decision in 2013.

The sit-in ended shortly after 6:30 p.m. when the protesters refused an order from the building’s management to leave the premises. It was not immediately clear how many people had been arrested, but a live-stream broadcast on Facebook by Lee Hedgepeth, a local journalist, showed at least six people agreeing to be arrested and kneeling before the police in prayer.

The sit-in, which was part of a larger state-wide protest, is the latest attempt to derail Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing as Attorney General over his poor record on civil rights, voting rights, criminal justice reform, immigration, and key other issues.

In a statement, Cornell Brook warned that Sessions “can’t be trusted to be the chief law enforcement officer for voting rights” if he for ignoring “the reality of voter suppression” while zealously prosecuting “innocent civil rights leaders on trumped up charges of voter fraud.”

Separate comments from Benard Simelton, president of the NAACP Alabama State Conference, sought to illustrate Senator Sessions poor record on civil and human rights.

“He has not been a champion for civil and human rights or been on the battle front fighting for civil and human rights,” Mr. Simelton said. “We need someone who has a background in that and who will continue to do that.”

The activists have since been released from jail and have vowed to continue their efforts in order to stop Senator Sessions confirmation as Attorney General.

As we pointed out in our blog yesterday, anyone who seeks to diminish Sessions’ record by claiming that he has “changed” over the past three decades has not been monitoring his extreme anti-immigrant positions and allyship with hate groups like The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Confirmation hearings for Jeff Session are scheduled for next week.