Saturday, March 7, 2015, will mark the 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when 600 Americans gathered at the Edmund Pettus Bridge to walk across in a show of solidarity for the civil, human right of African Americans to vote.
Police were waiting at the base of the bridge for the protesters where they unleashed a violent attack, with clubs, dogs and tear gas against the marchers. The entire scene was captured on television for the country and the world to see. The violence so appalled and shamed an America that had, previous to the incident, largely turned a blind eye.
The incident eventually marked a major turning point in American history, leading, over time, to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, transforming American politics, government and society itself.
On Saturday, thousands, including the first African-American President of the United States President Barack Obama, will gather in Selma at the bridge once again for a commemorative march.
President Obama and other elected officials will speak on the racial progress that has resulted from the march: Since then, millions of Americans who previously were prevented from voting, registered, while thousands have gone on to run and win elected offices, including in the White House.
But they are also expected to take the opportunity to address many of the remaining challenges, including efforts by some states to dilute minority votes through redistricting and voter identification laws, as well as the tense community-police relations that exist across the board and around the country.
Simultaneously, on Saturday, March 7, at 11:00am, elected officials across Brooklyn will gather for a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to that same end. Participants representing Central Brooklyn include Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, State Senator Jesse Hamilton, State Assemblymember Latrice Walker, City Councilmember Robert Cornegy, in partnership with clergy, organized labor, civil rights organizations and others.
WHAT: “Selma Marched 1965/Brooklyn Marches 2015”
WHEN: Saturday, March 7, meetup at 10:30am; step-off at approximately 11:30am
WHERE: Marchers will meet on the Manhattan side of the base of the Brooklyn Bridge and march over to Brooklyn Borough Hall.
WHAT ELSE: Everyone is invited. Signs with messages of “hope” are encouraged.