Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was confirmed as the nation’s 84th US Attorney General this evening, despite intense opposition by the NAACP and hundreds of organizations due to his historically weak and questionable support for voting rights, police accountability and the rights of immigrants and women.
The NAACP mobilized its memberships and collaborated with partners to flood the Senate with millions of phone calls asking senators to oppose Senator Sessions. President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, Alabama State Conference President Bernard Simelton and Alabama branch leaders helped mobilize two state-wide protests involving hundreds of NAACP members, national staff, and supporters for sit-ins at Senator Sessions Mobile, AL office that resulted in the arrests of nearly 15 NAACP members and supporters.
Media coverage of these events created a groundswell of protests and direct actions against his nomination. Through the mobilization of our Washington Bureau, legal teams and national staff, the NAACP successfully fought over nine times in nine months to beat back racist voter suppression laws in North Carolina, Texas and other states that saved millions of votes.
Through our 2,200 branches across the nation and national partners and coalitions, we organized protests and rallies across the nation and utilized social media to create millions of digital impressions, retweets, and posts on Facebook and Instagram calling on supporters to demand that the Senate vote to #StopSessions.
In January alone, the NAACP earned in support of its #StopSessions campaigns gained 43,000 new Twitter followers, generated hundreds of posts earning over 14.5 million views and more than 370,200 engagements. With Facebook, our supporters churned out 573,000 page “likes,” and posts were seen 4.1 million times, while videos were watched 1.07 million times in January alone. These numbers represent the floor of our potential activity in mobilizing support for the protection of civil rights rather than its ceiling.
Despite all our work and the coalitions we’ve collaborated with, Senator Sessions was confirmed today along a clear red versus blue partisan line of 52-47. Rather than hang our heads in despair, the NAACP will continue to hold the new AG and the Department of Justice accountable for enforcing protections against voter suppression, the use of consent decrees as a means of reigning in racism within police departments, protection of women’s rights and the humane treatment for immigrant communities and sanctuary cities.
The NAACP will call upon members of Congress and the committees exercising oversight over the Justice Department to ensure that the senator does what he is supposed to do to protect the vote and to end voter suppression and police brutality.
While we vigorously opposed his nomination, the NAACP and our branches across the nation and around the world are committed to working with the new AG in the same way we have worked with all previous AG’s to ensure the consistent and diligent protection of civil rights.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.