Civil rights leaders and “foot soldiers” launched the Bridge Crossing Jubilee Saturday with the commemoration of an event that changed America.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Southern Poverty Law Center president Richard Cohen and state Sen. Hank Sanders were among those who called for continued efforts to condemn white supremacy and other forms of discrimination.
Cohen noted that the civil rights movement did not begin in 1954 with a significant federal ruling on school desegregation and didn’t end with the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago.
He said he believes there could be more “movement” martyrs in the coming years, but included a ray of hope when he said he was pleased by a joint congressional resolution “condemning white supremacy.”
“I am urging the president to condemn bigotry and use all his powers to fight back against the growing prevalence of hatred in our country.”
Lewis, an Alabama native who was badly beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, renewed his call for all Americans to “stand up, speak up and find a way to bring about change.”
“The people of Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma used everything they had to not only change those states, but to change America, too,” he said.
Lewis, who recently celebrated his 78th birthday, indicated he was looking forward to another bridge crossing Sunday.
“Now we go back to the bridge one more time after we meet at Brown Chapel Church just as we did in 1965,” he said. “There were 600 of us who marched across the bridge that day in a peaceful, nonviolent fashion when we were beaten.”
Civil rights leaders from across America took part in a variety of activities in Selma, but some still worried about who is ready to take over the “movement’s” controls.
SOURCE: Alvin Benn
Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser