It was a day of remembrance of a dark past and a day I will never forget where time and history embraced each other like old friends.
In town with a population of 20,000, crowds of travelers from around the nation gathered to commemorate an important time in the history of America known as “Bloody Sunday” where members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and other civil rights groups, led a peaceful and military style march for equality across the Edmund Pettus Bridge that lead to a gruesome ending.
Fast forward 50 years later, and we see people of all Race, Religion, Color, and Creed stood accounted for in sea of some 100,000 in Selma, Alabama in reverence to the 600 that transcended the work for equality in 1965.
“It’s just a moving momentous occasion to see the fruits of labor our ancestors and my family members that were a part of this movement. And to see the world recognize the importance and magnitude of what happened here, “said Robert Stewart, a native of Selma.
The air echoed with the sounds of chanting, protesting and speeches filled with positive affirmations of hope, change, peace, and justice.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle later joined the people and he delivered moving speech fashioned for the occasion. Those all in attendance included for President Georgia W. Bush, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, an Alabama Native who marched and 100 members of Congress.
“It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo,” Obama said.
He went on to mention how the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri stirred up racial tensions and civil unrest.
“What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom;and before the Civil Rights Movement, it most surely was.
We do a disservice to the cause of justice by intimating that bias and discrimination are immutable, or that racial division is inherent to America. If you think nothing’s changed in the past fifty years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or L.A. of the Fifties,” he said.
“We honor those who have walked so we could run. We must run so our children can soar. And we not grow weary. For we believe in the power of an awesome God, and believe in this country’s sacred promise.” said the president.
You see, in the final analysis, we have to understand that even though racism still may exist what went on in Selma is an example of what can be done. Indeed we have seen progress toward equality in our society across the country, but this progress should not be mistaken for a final victory. Our march for equality isn’t over we all have our bridges to cross and our Selma’s that we must overcome.