Vote Next Week and Remember ‘Selma’
The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail is the shortest national trail in all of the United States, measuring just fifty-four miles, but it’s the history behind the route that signifies a monumental and long journey for African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement who were fighting for equal opportunities in the right to vote.
With Election Day next week (Nov 4), some of us find ourselves questioning our rights as people of color and wonder if our voices and our votes even matter in any election. From local elections to the electing of our president, the answer is yes, and if you don’t believe that, think of Selma, Alabama almost fifty years ago.
Many of our grandparents and great-grandparents from the South had the opportunity to march peacefully. They also ( unfortunately) witnessed firsthand our own being brutally attacked by authorities simply for protesting the denial of our constitutional right to vote. The right to vote is a privilege we’re afforded today that Black people of 1965 were senselessly beaten and gassed over. A privilege that was born from three marches and almost 25,000 people gathering for a right that many today find pointless. Someone died because he or she wanted to vote and in 2014, not only do we refuse to exercise our right at the polls, but many of us, won’t even register.
The passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson is singlehandedly, the most important legislation passed during the Civil Rights era, a defining moment in American history, and a significant point worthy of addressing every election season. 49 years ago wasn’t that long ago and while there is a black Commander-in-Chief in the United States of America, the fight continues in wanting to be seen as an equal, more so, as a somebody.
The history that began in Selma has now been made into a film, being released in select cities on December 25, 2014. SELMA, directed by film maker, Ava DuVernay and produced by Oprah Winfrey, follows the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and those actively involved in the movement from Selma to Montgomery.
Will you continue to make history and rock your vote next week?