Walking is not only good for an easy way to burn calories but it is also a great time for thinking. This past Sunday, I walked several milesÂ around the town of Selma, AL. Â I was in town for most of that day and didn’t sit down at all…I was on my feet practically the entire time except sitting while attendingÂ church services that morning. Â I was proud of myself for not being tired (and not wearing the wrong shoes) and, of course, for burning plenty of calories. Â But this led me to a deeper thought…a thought about all those who fought for their rights during the civil rights movement, much of what took place in Selma. Â I thought about the long walks they took such as the 50+ mile march from Selma to Montgomery. Â I also thought about the blood and tears shed that did not stop their movement…but instead made it stronger.
This past weekend, I was very fortunate to get the opportunity attend the 50th Jubilee Anniversary festivities in Selma, AL for the commemoration of Bloody Sunday. Â It was an AMAZING experience seeing so many people of different colors and backgrounds come out to partake in the weekend’s festivities, which included a riveting speech given by President Barack Obama, storytelling, concerts, and rallies. Â I was also very happy to see the state troopers, black and white, working together throughout the day and even posing for pictures with attendees. Â Although there is still much to be done in regards to civil rights we have definitely taken huge steps forward and that showed in Selma this past weekend. As I walked through the town, I thought about my aunt who lives less than an hour from Selma and grew up in Alabama during the height of the civil rights movement. Â She has shared stories of racism she witnessed and experienced such as hearing the screams of a relative being beaten and later lynched and theÂ nursing instructor who initially set out to fail her simply because she was black. Â As I walked over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I had to stop and take it all in as I recalled scenes from the movie Selma of the marchers being beaten with sticks and trampled as a result of them marching for blacks to have the right to vote. Â I stood there then looked downÂ and could literally see some falling helplessly to the ground….because they wanted for themselves and me to have the right to vote. Â I thought about those who traveled from near and far, whites even, who joined in the fight only to be beaten and some killed. Â As I made it over the bridge I enjoyed the uplifting gospel music that was being sung by various artists such as Kirk Franklin, Kelly Price and Bebe Winans. Â I then started to have happier thoughts such as how in a town once so torn by racism now had people of different colors and backgrounds enjoying this spiritual music. Â I also thought about the significance of the first African American US president being in office 50 years after Bloody Sunday….now how special is that?
Attending the festivities in Selma this past weekend wasÂ truly historic and beyond awesome. Â I was also very happy to have my kids attend with me and explain to them the significance of the event. They need to understand in regards to racism what happened in the past and, although not as prevalent, that this is still an issue today. Although we still have a long way to go in regards to race relations, it was a beautiful sight to see everyone come together this past weekend….and I’m so thankful that I was able to experience being there to witness it.