On Tuesday night, NAACP president Cornell William Brooks and a group of fellow NAACP activists were arrested for staging a peaceful sit-in at the Mobile, AL, offices of Republican senator Jeff Sessions—Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, and a man who has long been dogged by allegations of racism and bigotry.
Early Wednesday morning, Brooks shared the mugshots taken of him and his fellow protesters, along with a defiant message.
Brooks’ arrest came after a statewide effort on the part of the Alabama NAACP to demand Sessions withdraw his name from consideration for the top Justice Department post.
Speaking with USA Today on Tuesday, Brooks explained his opposition to Sessions’ nomination, pointing out that the Voting Rights Act—with the Senator has criticized—has its origins in the very state Sessions represents.
“We don’t derive any pleasure from opposing this nomination, but here’s what we know,” Brooks told the paper. “The Voting Rights Act was literally born in Selma, Ala. … and Sen. Sessions is a son of Selma, he was born in Selma, but if we look at what Selma means, if we look at what the Voting Rights Act means and we look at his record, we have to oppose him.”
In a press release announcing the sit-in at Sessions’ office, Alabama State NAACP Conference President Benard Simelton took a similar tone:
Despite 30 years of our nation moving forward on inclusion and against hate, Jeff Sessions has failed to change his ways. He’s been a threat to desegregation and the Voting Rights Act and remains a threat to all of our civil rights, including the right to live without the fear of police brutality.
On social media, Brooks continued to share his mugshot, tweeting the picture several times over, writing, “Civil disobedience is 1 way for citizens to honor the rule of law. We were arrested to support a Justice Department for everyone.”
Later, using the hashtag #ThingsIWontApoligizeFor, Brooks acknowledged his having broken the law during the sit-in, but explained the action was done to “insure civil rights laws are enforced for everyone.”