Tales From the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March
1 year ago
Marchers fight against Republican attempts to turn back the clock.
They came from across the country – California, Idaho, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and many states in between. They were young and old, black, brown, white, and yellow – of all sizes and shades. Walking with a common purpose of maintaining the civil rights of all Americans, they sang songs of hope, yelled chants of empowerment and together, they walked 54 miles from Selma, AL to Montgomery, AL. What started out as the reenactment of the 1965 Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing as part of the annual Jubilee events led into National Action Network’s 2012 March for Voter and Immigration Rights, the birthing of a new movement and what must become the “Civil Rights Spring” and uprising.
Prior to getting to Alabama, many people would ask me why we were marching. They inquired if it was simply a way to remember what was done 47 years ago. But people need to look no further than the headlines in the papers, the stories that take precedence on TV during the nightly news, or the conversations that dominate radio, social media or the water cooler.
We are involved in an ideological tug-of-war in this country. There are many on the right who would like us to go back to the days where blacks and the poor had to go to extreme measures, like paying poll taxes in order to vote. They would like to see women be silent when it comes to issues affecting us – having no say when it comes to our reproductive health (or else be thought of as a “slut” for speaking out), equal pay, or many of the other issues that we deal with. They would like to see most Latino immigrants deported back to the countries of their birth. There are even some on the right who would like to see schools segregated again.
[ALSO READ: All Roads Lead To Selma]
Where this country goes depends on who can pull the hardest. It is the reason that I was ready and willing to buy my own ticket to Selma and it was the reason that I pressed on, when my feet hurt and were burdened with blisters, when my forehead was burning from the blazing sun, when I was tired and weary, and most importantly, it’s the reason that I didn’t walk alone. Each day, the number of marchers increased and each night’s rally was jam packed with people who marched all day, but were engaged, wanted more information, and were ready to continue walking for what they believed in.
The overarching theme of voting rights is directly tied to every other issue that people face. Without the ability to vote, you have no voice in who will make decisions about your healthcare, the education of your children, the ability of your parents to care for themselves, the ability to buy a home and reach the middle class, the right for you to join a union, the ability for your sister to determine how she wants to handle her reproductive rights, and on and on. Republicans understand this and it is at the very core of why they have been and are continuing to work so hard – on the local, state, and national level to justify the marginalization of votes that typically don’t swing their way.