Congresswoman Terri Sewell receives “Drum Major for Freedom Award” at the Jimmie Lee Jackson Day program in Marion on Sunday, February 19, 2017. This program sponsored by the Perry County Civic League marks the beginning of a three-week celebration of the right to vote in Alabama. L to R are: Sen. Bobby Singleton, Ms. Willie Nell Avery Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Albert Turner.
At a press conference on Wednesday morning at the Alabama State Legislature, State Senator Hank Sanders said the Bridge Crossing Jubilee received a letter from the City of Selma charging $23,882 for police protection, plus an undetermined amount for clean-up after the four day celebration of the right to vote and commemoration of the 1965 Bloody Sunday March, which led to passage of the Voting Rights Act.
“We paid the price in blood to march in 1965 and we will not pay the police and clean-up fees that the City of Selma is charging us for this year. This is an effort by some in the City to stop this event or take it over.
We will fight this attack by the city in every arena and every way we can,” said Sanders.
“This is not a question of money, since the City of Selma receives thousands of dollars in sales tax money from people who come to the multi-day event. We have 40 to 50 different events, mostly workshops, films, and meetings, which are indoors in churches and public buildings that do not require any police involvement.
“We start Thursday evening, March 2, 2017, with a mass meeting at Tabernacle Baptist Church. There will be workshops and programs on Friday and Saturday; a breakfast on Sunday March 5, church services and the March Re-enactment on Sunday evening from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The slow ride from Selma to Montgomery begins Monday, March 6 with the assembling of cars on the east side of the bridge.
“The City is trying to charge us for four days of police protection and clean-up for ordinary church and workshop meetings that they never charge anyone else for holding. We have one parade and the March re-enactment, which draws thousands of people. The attack on the Bridge Crossing Jubilee is unprecedented and illegal. We will not pay this bill and we will fight it every way we can.”
Sanders was asked about the Battle of Selma re-enactment, which has also been charged for police and clean-up fees. They have set up a Go-Fund-Me page on the Internet to raise money. Sanders said, “The Battle of Selma re-enactment takes place outside on City owned property and does not bring as many people to stay in Selma. But we welcome the Battle of Selma people to join our fight against the city’s fees.”
Schedule for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee
Leaders and organizers of Bloody Sunday and the Selma-to-Montgomery March Commemorations and the Bridge Crossing Jubilee held a news conference last week to discuss the upcoming events in Selma being held March 2nd through the 6th.
This year, 2017, marks the 52nd Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the 25th Anniversary of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, which began in1992 and has been held every year since then.
Sen. Hank Sanders, one of the leaders of the effort, said: “It is all coming together. This is the largest annual Civil Rights gathering in the country, where tens of thousands come every year. More than one hundred thousand came on just one day – the 50th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 2015, two years ago.
When you have 40-50 events, it takes so much of everything: so many people, so much money, and so much effort, so much working together to make it happen.”
Dr. James M. Mitchell, President of Wallace Community College Selma (WCCS) and Chair of the Selma-to-Montgomery Commemoration Foundation said: “Rev. William J. Barber II, internationally known leader and founder of the Moral Movement, will be headlining the events on Sunday. No national leader is fighting more effectively to protect the right to vote than Rev. Barber. He will be speaking at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast at Wallace Community College Selma on Sunday, March 5th at 7:30 a.m., then briefly at Brown Chapel AME Church where the March starts following the breakfast, and at the foot of the Bridge.
Rev. Barber will also lead the Selma-to-Montgomery Slow Ride on Monday, March 6th. Other nationally known leaders are participating and will be announced in the coming days. The media is invited to all events.”
There are many educational activities throughout the week, and Wallace Community College Selma hosts workshops and other educational events that are free to the public. The Bridge Crossing Jubilee includes events in downtown Selma, at WCCS, and at other locations across Selma from Thursday, March 2nd through Monday, March 6th.
Faya Rose Toure (Sanders), volunteer coordinator of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, said: “I want to encourage everyone to come out. No one is too young or too old. We’re excited about all of the events – not just this year, but every year.”
Sam Walker of the National Voting Rights Museum said: “From time-to-time we do the full March from Selma to Montgomery. This year, we are doing a Selma-to-Montgomery Slow Ride on Monday, March 6th. The Slow Ride consists of a long line of vehicles making the commemorative journey from Selma to Montgomery. It begins at 9:00 a.m. in Selma on the Montgomery side of the Bridge and arrives in Montgomery at 11:00 a.m. for an outdoor rally on the Capitol Steps followed by a workshop on protecting voting rights in the Joint Briefing Room on the 8th Floor of the State House. We invite people with vehicles to begin assembling at 8:00 AM so we can start on time with at least 52 vehicles (cars, trucks, vans, SUV’s school buses, church buses) – all are welcome.
Rep. Thad McClammy of Montgomery said: “I was in Selma and Montgomery in 1965 when all of these momentous events were taking place. These events and the power of nonviolence changed the nation. They also became a worldwide symbol for voting rights. The Bloody Sunday and Selma-to-Montgomery March Commemorations and the Bridge Crossing Jubilee are not just local, state or national events. They are international events. We are happy to witness another historic year, on this the 52nd Anniversary.”
For more information and a detailed schedule of events, go to: www.selmajubilee.com on the Internet or call 334/526-2626.