As citizens across the US are either voting or preparing to vote in the November presidential election, organizers are planning to commemorate “Bloody Sunday”, a brutal moment that shocked the nation and led to the protection of voting rights for all Americans. For its 56th anniversary and the first time ever, the annual Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee, a celebration of the victories of the voting rights movement will be hosted virtually March 4-7, 2021.
This annual event in Selma, Alabama, commemorates "Bloody Sunday," which occurred March 7, 1965, when a group of about 525 African American demonstrators gathered at Browns Chapel to demand the right to vote.
They walked six blocks to Broad Street, then across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where they were met by more than 50 state troopers and a few dozen policemen on horseback. When the demonstrators refused to turn back, they were brutally beaten. At least 17 were hospitalized and 40 others received treatment for injuries and the effects of tear gas. The attack, which was broadcast on national television, caught the attention of millions of Americans and became a symbol of the brutal racism of the South. Two weeks later, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and 3,200 civil rights protesters marched the 49 miles from Selma to the state capital, Montgomery—an event that prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.
In addition to interactive workshops, storytelling by Foot Soldiers of the voting rights movement, awards ceremonies, a virtual expo floor, and a concert with world-renowned musicians, this emotional and thought-provoking celebration is bringing an exciting experience born in Selma to touch every corner of the globe.
According to Principal Coordinator Drew Glover, with the honoring of the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis who personifies the spirit of the civil and voting rights movements, this year’s theme, “Beyond the Bridge: People Power, Political Power, Economic Power" focuses on encouraging worldwide conversations about the impact of key moments in history and the need to build on the works of those who paved the way.
“Having the opportunity to modernize the historic event and take it to the global stage will provide access to countless new potential change-makers,” Glover said. “Our focus on developing new leaders and bridging the past with the present allows us to recommit to the struggle to build a better future.”
The theme, says Glover, also represents the importance of not just celebrating this critical event in history on its anniversary, but also ensuring that conversations are happening within families and across generations about what it symbolizes, thus paying homage to ancestors of the movement and committing to the future.
Note to editors:
The Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee was founded in Selma, Alabama as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Our commitment is to the commemoration and preservation of the spirit of the struggle for the right to vote in this country and the world. Our goal is to inspire people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds to respect and appreciate the power of their vote. It will be watching the progression of COVID-19 closely and for now, all activities including the march will be hosted virtually. This annual event is a family affair and appropriate for all ages.