Jubilee, let’s march into a better Selma

Published 5:54pm Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sitting in the press section at Wallace Community College Sunday morning waiting for the Vice President of the United States to speak, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, I never thought I would be here just six months after graduating college.”

While some say professional football players and big business billionaires have the best careers — I’d have to disagree. Choosing a career in journalism has by far been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my 22 years of life. Having the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life is a blessing I hope I never take for granted.

While marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with 15,000 strangers, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with people who ranged in age from 12 years old to 85. Some marched with their families, others with friends and some came by themselves simply to enjoy the moment.

While listening to Joe Biden speak at the foot of the bridge about how he regrets not being in Selma in 1965 to take part in the iconic march to Montgomery, I realized how lucky I was to be there. I know I’ve said multiple times that Selma is a special place, but it’s days like the annual Jubilee Bridge Crossing that really reiterate how historic and important Selma is. How great is it to say that our home — Selma, Ala. — is where thousands meet each year to celebrate something that happened almost 50 years ago? Not many towns have that claim to fame.

And while freedom and equality resonated throughout the day, it is my hope that this mentality carries on throughout Selma and Dallas County the rest of the year. We have come a long way as a city and nation since 1965, but there are still wounds that need to be healed.

Racial tension, unfortunately, still finds a way to creep back in to the hearts of many today. Arguments are still held that discuss the importance of statues and long-gone political figures. These are all issues that happened in the past and that’s where they need to live — the past. If we could all channel our energy into what’s going on in Selma today and find ways to make our city better, I think we could accomplish a great deal.

By holding on to hate that was felt decades ago, we only limit ourselves in how great and progressive our city can be. I believe Selma, as a city, has already begun to move on — just look at our city council and county commission. Each have black and white members and I think that shows that Selma is a blended city, which accepts people of all races.

So, as we look forward to next year’s Jubilee, let’s remember what the march was all about. Let’s let go of how our differences separate us and begin celebrating how they make us great.

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