This year marks the 47th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights march. The 50-mile trek along what is now known as the Voting Rights Trail marked an important moment in the civil rights movement and led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Nearly five decades later, civil rights and community leaders from around the country have once again joined in Selma, Alabama. And in addition to gathering in celebration of the historic event, marchers once again find themselves fighting against social injustice and voter suppression.
Yesterday was the first day of a five-day march organized by a diverse coalition of Alabamian, regional, and national groups. Thousands gathered for a rally at Brown AME chapel as leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton, Alabama Senator Hank Sanders, Rep. John Lewis, Bill Lucy of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and Janet Murguia reminded the crowd of the sacrifices made by civil rights leaders in the past. Their focus, however, remained need for unity in the continued fight for worker rights, voter rights, and immigrant rights.
Supporters followed the remarks with a reeenactment of the crossing of Edmund Pettus Bridge, recalling the events of “Bloody Sunday”
The recent anti-minority resurgence in the state threatens to undo the sacrifices made by so many not even 50 years ago. To protect the liberties won with blood all those years ago, civil rights leaders, including members of the African-American and Hispanic communities, and protectors of equality from all over the country once again find themselves marching in Alabama. And while this iteration of the Pettus Bridge crossing was not met with opposition from state troopers wielding batons and tear gas, the struggle against bigotry and fear was nonetheless present.
Through continued support and unity, the marchers aim to keep history from repeating itself, and hope to once again show the nation that there are no second-class citizens in this state — only One Family and One Alabama.