BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Outgoing U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch gave her final speech as Attorney General at the 16th Street Baptist Church Sunday, just days after President Barack Obama signed a proclamation creating the Birmingham Civil Rights National Park.
“We got a chance to really feel like one thing, one country in this church and that was just more than I could have hoped for,” said Alabama student Maya Perry.
“I share your joy that 16th Street Baptist Church along with Kelly Ingram Park will be preserved and protected for generations to come,” said Lynch in her speech.
“To me I think it’s long overdue, but I’m glad that it has happened,” said Birmingham resident Mikul Smith
The event was a celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Lynch recognized the accomplishments made in Birmingham that have impacted the nation.
“It has been an honor to work with you and to hold you up as an example for other jurisdictions,” said Lynch during her speech.
However, Lynch also said the progress made must not be taken for granted and that the work toward equality must continue.
“The work of creating a society that respects the rights and affirms the dignity of all people, of all people regardless of color or creed, gender or ethnicity. That’s the dream for which he died, but it’s the ideal toward which we must continue striving today,” said Lynch.
Her message resonated with the audience.
“The people of Birmingham needed to hear those words coming from the Attorney General,” said Birmingham resident Stephanie Fisher.
“What she said made an impact on the entire congregation and it just made sure that we move forward with a positive message,” said Perry.
Alabama’s Jeff Sessions is on track to take over Lynch’s office and become the 84th Attorney General of the United States.