Remember the sacrifices made for us

Published 5:33 pm Friday, January 31, 2014

Since the moment U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell uttered the words, “We stand on the shoulders of giants, and we drink from the fountains we did not dig,” at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast held Jan. 20, I knew that phrase would stick with me forever.

African Americans have been afforded opportunities thanks to the sacrifices civil rights activist made before us. I’m proud to say the place I now call home has played a vital role in the movement for equal rights, giving all Selmains an even better reason to take part in Black History Month.

Needless to say, Selma provides plenty of options when it comes to celebrating Black History Month. The Selma-Dallas County Public Library is hosting a 3-day event, Sensational Selma Cooks,centered on Black History Month. The National Voting Rights Museum and Institute holds a Bridge Crossing Jubilee from March 6 through March 10. If those events do not work for you, there are many others that might.

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Even if you cannot take the time to attend the various community events meant to celebrate our heroes, there are several other ways to participate in the national awareness month.

You can take a lone walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where legendary marches took place while you reflect on the power it took those marchers to be involved knowing the brutal violence that it would induce. You can visit the National Voting Rights Museum and the Selma Interpretive Center and Institute to educate yourself on the contributions that people have made. You can visit the Brown Chapel AME church that served as a starting point of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches in 1965 and a meeting place for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the Selma Voting Rights Movement.

This month is about recognizing the sacrifices an oppressed group of people made so our life would be easier. It’s easy for us to get consumed in our day-to-day life and forget the work others put in for us to get here. We should avoid making that common mistake by taking the time to show our appreciation by acknowledging our history.

We can also show our gratitude by taking advantage of the opportunities we are given and practice what those civil rights activists shed blood, sweat and tears to accomplish.

Unfortunately, several people in Selma have made the mistake of participating in violent crimes that go against the message of peace and nonviolence. There are several of our youth who choose to ignore the chance they have to earn diplomas and degrees these civil rights pioneers pushed for them to have.

Anytime we go against what civil rights activists have done for us, we are doing much more than not appreciating them. We are spitting on their hard work and sacrifice.

Whatever you chose to do, whether it is reflecting on their movement, taking the time and effort to learn more or living out their hopes and dreams for all African Americans, we should all do something to acknowledge Black History Month.