From Selma to Montgomery, PLAN intern Stacey Shinn marches on
Right at this moment PLAN intern Stacey Shinn is somewhere between Selma and Montgomery Alabama, marching with thousands of other voting rights activists, recreating the historic march that was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, moving Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.
The annual "Bridge Crossing Jubilee" in Selma, commemorating its 47th year, is the recognition of an era when attempts by African Americans to register to vote were met with bloody consequences. The original marchers never made it across the bridge. They were brutally beaten by state and local police.
Said Stacey on Sunday morning: "At the rally before crossing the Edmond Pettus bridge, hundreds of marchers from labor, religious groups, Latino and African American groups came together. You can feel the crowds excitement."
Voting is one our most sacred rights, the purest form of free speech, and while state sponsored violence and intimidation has ended, there are still forces who put immense amounts of energy into disenfranchising voters and suppressing voter turnout.
Alabama is also facing a civl rights crisis. House Bill 56 was passed by the state's legislature less than a year ago and is being described as Jim Crow. In Alabama not only is the color of your skin grounds for detainment, but just assisting an undocumented person is reason enough for law enforcement officials to place you under arrest.
Stacey said the crowd was peppered with "United for voting rights and immigration rights! Repeal HB56!". More than 3000 people crossed the bridge, including 12 of the original marchers from 47 years ago. Marchers continued on to Montgomery, more than 50 miles away, led by Reverand Al Sharpton.
This morning Stacey tells us "8 miles so far today. It goes by fast with all the great company. An entire elementary school was outside to cheer us on with thank you signs. Its hard holding back tears."
Each day of the marcher's journey they will focus on one issue. Today was education.
Follow Stacey's updates on Twitter (@PLANevada) and keep checking the blog for more updates!