Salaam plans investiture service Sunday

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 17, 2003

Yusuf Salaam, the new Alabama House of Represen-tatives District 67 officeholder, will hold a ceremonial investiture service Sunday at 6 p.m. at Concordia College’s Thompson Auditorium.

Salaam already is the official representative for District 67. Sunday’s ceremony is intended to celebrate what he terms the “spiritual culmination” of events leading up to his election.

“By that I mean we will be bringing together a combination of social, economic and political forces under one roof that probably could not come together anywhere else in America,” he said.

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Salaam contends his “election phenomenon” was propelled and made possible by supporters from diverse racial, religious and economic backgrounds. And that, he added, speaks well for Selma and for Dallas County.

“We just want to take time to demonstrate our gratitude to the Almighty for blessing us with an occasion in Selma that could not have happened in New York City, Paris, France, Los Angeles, Beijing, or even Mecca, Saudi Arabia,” he said. “We’re proud that Selma can be presented in a positive light.”

As proof that his election was more than just a political event, Salaam pointed out that the actual swearing-in ceremony will include participants from the Muslim, Jewish and Catholic communities, as well as individuals from both the white and black Protestant communities.

“In a time when Muslims, Christians and Jews are fighting each other in the Middle East, we will be praying and fellowshipping together in Selma,” he said.

The date of the service, Jan. 19, is no accident. That’s the eve of the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as well as the birthdate of Confederate icon Robert E. Lee.

“It is time for the descendants of slaves and the sons and daughters of the Confederacy to come together and work for the advancement of our common good,” Salaam said. “We’ve spent two centuries in tension, from the terrible events of the Civil War to the cataclysmic events of the Civil Rights era.

“I’m sure most of us would prefer a tension-free 21st Century characterized by a lack of extremes and undergirded by a posture of moderation and balance. It’s time to transcend divisive history and to make harmonious history.”

Salaam also noted that he is “delighted” with his legislative committee assignments. He will be serving on the Judicial and Agricultural committees. He added, however, that he does not plan to paper the Capitol with bills as soon as the legislative session officially begins March 4.

“For a freshman to be running up in the Legislature with a handful of issues, demanding immediate action, would be superficial posturing,” he said. “At this point I’m a determined student of the legislative process. After I learn and develop the skills necessary to be effective, I’m sure most of the voters of Dallas County will readily acknowledge that their concerns are being addressed at the legislative level.”