Selma: 50 Years Was Not That Long Ago

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Sunday, I got up super early to board a bus at the King Center in Atlanta to go to Selma. My mom and I traveled to Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches. The first march on March 7, 1965 was organized in response to the shooting death of Jimmie Lee Jackson in Marion, Alabama. He was not a veteran. He was not a preacher. He was a deacon at his local church in Marion who just wanted to vote. He was unarmed. He was shot and died eight days later in a hospital in Selma.

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It’s ironic that the 50th anniversary is called “Jubilee”. #Selma50 was not a pure celebration. It was like the mash-up of a wake, a family reunion and a block party. It was great to walk among of sea of mostly black faces from at least five generations. It was also good to see allies-White, Asian, Latino, LGBT and even people from other countries. However, it was still somewhat solemn. People died 50 years ago. Jimmie Lee Jackson, James Reeb and Viola Luozzo. People are still dying. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Rekia Boyd.

The biggest takeaway from #Selma50 is that 50 years was not that long ago. It could have been yesterday. We can commemorate, but we can’t go BACK.

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