Backwards March targets area youth

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Organizers of the first ever backwards march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge Sunday afternoon urged area youth to “bury the guns and not our brothers and sisters.”

The Rev. Kenneth Glasgow of The Ordinary Peoples Society (T.O.P.S.) chapter in Dothan and William Boyd, founder of Better Opportunities for Our People in Montgomery, led the marchers carrying a casket that was placed on a makeshift stage on Water Avenue as a reminder of lives lost to black on black crime.

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“We want to go back and reconnect the movement, reconnect to the spirit, reconnect to the restoration and commitment the marchers had in 1965,” Glasgow said. “Our agenda is to stop looking at our neighbor as the other man. We’ve got to put the neighbor back in the ‘hood.”

Glasgow was one of many speakers at Sunday’s march, which was hosted by Carolyn Boyd, wife of William Boyd, and comedian Moe of Tuscaloosa. Earl Wagner, president of T.O.P.S. in Montgomery, credited the audience for their participation.

“By coming forth today you let people know we’ve go to turn around and get it right,” Wagner said. “We’ve all got to save our youth. We’ve got to love the Lord. We’ve got to love each other.”

Wagner also had a message for the young men in the audience, saying the sign of a real man isn’t based on toughness alone. According to Wagner, a real man knows when to “walk away.”

“You guys want to be hard?” Wagner questioned. “Let me tell you what hard is. Hard is a brother dead for three days.”

Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison added it’s time for the black community to cease negative image handed to them by society.

“This country has not been kind to those who aren’t indigenous to this land, however we have come and survived. We are a proud people and we should remember that.”

Selma attorney and civil rights advocate Faya Rose Toure, who was also at the forefront of the march, said that the root of black on black crime is the result of the “crimes committed by powerful people.

“Most of us are victims of higher oppression no matter our race, creed or religion,” Toure said.

Toure then invited the audience to Selma’s 42nd annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee celebration, set for Thursday, March 1 through Sunday, March 4, and the second annual backwards march in 2008, citing the march is the birth of the S.O.S. movement – Saving Our Sons To Save Ourselves.