I’m in Alabama to take part in the 47th reenactment of the historic civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The 50 mile march is taking place over 5 days to stand up for civil, voting, and immigrant rights in Alabama and across the country. The first two days were filled with both somber reminders of the often tragic filled fight for civil rights in America and joyous energy to recommit ourselves to the arc of justice.
So, with a fresh set of legs and renewed enthusiasm, I started off on Day Three of the march yesterday. Many more community organizers from different organizations across the country joined me and my fellow marchers for the 11 mile trek. As we reached the eleventh mile, we all paused at a memorial dedicated to Viola Liuzzo. She was a volunteer who was shuttling marchers back and forth between Selma and Montgomery in 1965 when she was killed by a white supremacist. Her martyrdom is a reminder of the sacrifices that many made across the nation in support of the movement for Civil Rights, often risking death in support of what’s right.
The memorial also reminded me of the challenges civil rights and immigration supporters are face today. DREAM students face the threat of deportation when standing up for what they believe in. Workers and union members risk losing wages and even their jobs when protesting unfair or discriminatory practices. Many of the marchers here in Alabama have taken personal time off from work in order to make sure this state doesn’t regress to the darker days in its history.
We ended the day at the First Baptist Church in Selma, where representatives from different organizations spoke about yesterday’s theme: Black farmers and Healthcare. Rev. Jesse Jackson gave the closing speech, where he mentioned the importance of Black-Latino coalitions and voting. Hearing his words, I felt inspired and encouraged as I looked around and saw members of different races brought together to fight social injustices.
Today’s theme is Worker’s Rights. Buses filled with union members and many different kind of people are expected to join the march as we continue our historic journey.
Be sure to follow the march on Twitter (#Selma2012, #crisisAL) and track our coverage as well at twitter.com/communitychange. Lastly, text MARCH to 69866 to join the virtual march and get updates.