United States Attorney General Eric Holder told a packed crowd at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that the struggle that began here in Birmingham in 1963 continues today, with the Voting Rights Act under siege by those who would roll it back and civil rights denied by a criminal justice system that does more to perpetuate problems than to resolve them.

“Today, we affirm that it is our duty–and it will always be the responsibility of every American–to confront injustice wherever it is found, to isolate those who act out of hate, and to make real the brighter future, and the more just world, that Addie Mae, Cynthia, Carole, and Denise never had the chance in which to live,” Holder said.

Holder spoke at the Sunday afternoon commemoration service on the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the church. From its pulpit he promised that the work of the movement would go on.

That work, Holder said, means prosecuting hate crimes, protecting citizens’ right to vote, expanding workplace protections from discrimination, and creating alternatives for incarceration.

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