55th Bridge Crossing Jubilee to be held in Selma February 27 to March 1, 2020

Stacey Abrams, Georgia Voting Rights activist, Martin Luther King III and family, Nobel Prize laureate, Leymah Gobwee of Liberia among honorees at Sunday’s Unity Breakfast


The 55th Bridge Crossing Jubilee, to commemorate the 1965 ‘Bloody Sunday March’ for voting rights will be held in Selma from Thursday, February 27 to Sunday March 1, 2020.
This is the largest national event to celebrate voting and civil rights.
The Jubilee will consist of church services, workshops on civil rights related issues, a street festival, breakfasts, dinners, a parade, golf tournament and other events, culminating in Sunday afternoon’s re-enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights March, from Brown’s Chapel AME Church across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
A key part of the program is the Martin & Coretta King Unity Breakfast at Wallace Community College Selma on Sunday, March 1st, which begins at 7:30 a.m. and opens the commemoration of Bloody Sunday.
Several persons are slated to receive the Martin and Coretta King Unity Award at the breakfast and will speak, among them are Stacey Abrams of Georgia, Martin Luther King III, his wife Arndrea Waters King and their 11-year-old daughter Yolanda Renee King, Leymah Gobwee of Liberia and Columba Toure of Senegal.
“Stacey Abrams was the first Black woman in the nation to win major party’s nomination for governor, and she came very close to being elected the governor of Georgia, a Deep South state. Abrams is also one of the foremost leaders in the country in voter registration and voter participation and is a strong contender for Vice President in this year’s presidential election,” said Hank Sanders, co-founder of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and the Selma-to-Montgomery March Foundation. 
 Foundation and President of Wallace Community College Selma, said: “Leader Abrams is one of the speakers most in demand across the nation. She always has something powerful and worthwhile to share. We look forward to hearing her strong vision for our nation on March 1st in Selma.” 
“Martin Luther King, III, his wife, Arndrea Waters King and their daughter, Yolanda Renee King have been deeply involved in Civil Rights, the Voting Rights struggle and human rights for a lifetime. The three members of the King family, all became very active and effective in the struggle for justice for all from very young ages. Martin Luther King, III, has attended almost all of the Martin & Coretta King Unity Breakfasts since the very beginning,” according to Hank Sanders.
Noble Peace Prize Recipient Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and international leader Coumba Toure of Senegal will be honored at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast in Selma on Sunday, March 1st, at Wallace Community College Selma. Leymah Gbowee will receive the inaugural International Peace and Justice Award, and Coumba Toure will receive the International Unity Award. 
Gbowee, the 2020 inaugural Peace and Justice Award recipient, was one of three women awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
Dr. James Mitchell, Chair of the Selma-to-Montgomery March Foundation and President of Wallace Community College Selma (WCCS), said: “Leymah Gbowee organized women in her native Liberia to end Liberia’s civil war. Her fearless, remarkable and creative efforts and women-led movement transformed Liberia and gave the Liberian people a future that had been ripped from them through civil war, rape and other violence and oppression. The power of her work, vision and courage cannot be overstated.” 
Working across religious and ethnic lines in Liberia, Gbowee led thousands of Christian and Muslim women in praying and in working non-violently for peace, using Muslim and Christian prayers. They held daily nonviolent demonstrations and sit-ins in defiance of orders from the tyrannical Liberian President at that time, Charles Taylor. Their efforts succeeded in ending 14 years of war and removing Taylor from office in 2003.
Gbowee’s powerful memoir is Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War, and she is also the subject of the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Gbowee’s influential work and service across Africa includes her being Founder and President of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa based in Monrovia, Liberia, which provides educational and leadership opportunities to girls, women and the youth in Liberia. She has served as the Executive Director of the Ghana-based Women Peace and Security Network Africa, which supports women’s capacity to prevent, avert, and end conflicts in West Africa and has also served as the commissioner-designate for the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 
 Coumba Toure, the 2020 International Unity Award recipient, has worked for more than two decades to promote social change in West Africa. She is Coordinator for Africans Rising for peace, justice and dignity based in Dakar, Senegal. Hank Sanders, co-founder of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and the Selma-to-Montgomery March Foundation said: “Coumba Toure has dedicated her life to serving others and improving the lives of women, children and all people of all ages from West Africa to right here in Selma. Much of her work focuses on positive change in the nations of West Africa, and her service also reaches across the world to include helping young people through the Institute for Popular Education in Mali, the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement in Selma and more.” 
More information on all of the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee events and tickets are available through the website: http://www.selmajubilee.com

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