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Final plans announced for Bridge Crossing Jubilee

Jubilee coordinator Rose Sanders on Friday defended the invitation extended to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for next week’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

Wright, considered a polarizing figure by many, is listed as the keynote speaker for a mass meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Tabernacle Baptist Church. The meeting is the opening event for the Jubilee.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has also been invited to the event, and Sanders said both men’s presence is symbolic of the inclusive spirit of the Rev. Martin Luther King.

“Dr. King did not believe in excluding anybody, and I’m sad to say it took me 50 years before I began to study peaceful non-violence,” Sanders said. “But now that I understand it and I’m sticking to practicing it, I understand you have to bring everybody to the table — even those you disagree with — if you want to build a strong city and a strong America and a strong world.”

Wright’s presence at Jubilee has been widely debated. U.S. Rep. Artur Davis objected to his presence in a letter sent a month ago to the National Voting Rights Institute and Museum, the Jubilee’s primary sponsor.

The Jubilee’s theme this year is “The Bridge to the White House.” It honors the connection between the 44th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” March on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and Barack Obama’s election as the 44th and first black president.

Alabama Sen. Hank Sanders said unlike 2006, Obama was not invited to this year’s celebration.

“We will invite him again in the future,” Sanders said. “The transition was such that we didn’t think we would succeed. We think we’ll have a better shot in the near future.”

Several changes are planned for this year’s Jubilee.

People not widely known in the civil rights movement will accept induction into the Foot Soldiers Hall of Fame, the first such ceremony.

Inductions into the Hall of Resistance will also take place this year. This honor goes to people who made a difference outside the mainstream fight for equal rights.

Education is another prominent theme for several Jubilee events. A mock trial for public education is set Friday afternoon at the Dallas County Courthouse. Some of the witnesses include State Superintendent of Education Joe B. Morton, local school officials and parents.

Morton will also attend a forum on education at the School of Discovery early Friday. The forum will cover all aspects of education, including economic literacy

“We are in an economic crisis, so we have to have economic literacy at in our classes,” Rose Sanders said.

Performers scheduled to appear are T.I., Mike Jones, Marvin C., the Southside High choir and other hip-hop and gospel acts.