PLAN staff heading to Alabama in honor of a historic march
March 7, 1965. Bloody Sunday. White resistance to African Americans registering to vote reached a bloody apex in Selma during a student organized and led voting rights march. More than 600 students, including current US Congressman John Lewis, were brutally beaten by police.
Hosea Williams and John Lewis confront troopers on Bloody Sunday during the Selma to Montgomery march. Part of a collection documenting the march by Spider Martin, photojournalist.
These series of marches were pivotal in the Civil Rights Movement. Television and newspaper images of peaceful protestors brutally assaulted by police startled the nation and moved a president to pass the Voting Rights Act. State-sponsored voter intimidation and violence against Blacks has ended, but voter suppression and intimidation has not.
Members of our own legislature drafted voter suppression bills so foul they never even had a chance of making it it out of committee. And in Alabama, a new law meant to address immigration issues is now being called "Jim Crow revisited". [LINK]
PLAN organizer Elvira Diaz and PLAN intern Stacey Shinn (both from our Reno office) are traveling to Alabama this weekend to march. Below you can read Stacey's take on why she's marching, and what it means to her. Check back here for updates, or visit, www.aflcio.org
March madness means college basketball to millions. But as I participate in the 1965 anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march this week, the term ‘March madness’ means that in 2012, Alabama is being dragged back to its dark days of racial injustice. As thousands get ready for the March 4-9 event, the march once again is about segregation: modern day segregationist policies against immigrants that limit civil rights and opportunities for advancement.
The march is bringing together Latinos, Blacks, civil rights, labor, immigrant rights and other groups all fighting, again, for equality. A big part of this fight is calling for the repeal of Alabama’s vehemently anti-immigrant law, HB56. This law has legitimized racial profiling, driven hardworking immigrants from the state, and cost Alabama billions in economic output.
While everyone’s reason for participating may vary, all Americans should understand what the Selma to Montgomery march truly represents: a unification of leaders and people from different social and economic sectors in defense of our communities and American freedoms.