Voting Rights Act to be celebrated

Published 8:43 pm Friday, July 31, 2015

By Justin Fedich | The Selma Times-Journal

Selma has celebrated plenty of anniversaries in 2015. Next week calls for yet another celebration of a historical milestone.

The Selma-Dallas County Friends of the National Historic Trail is hosting a two-day event on Wednesday and Thursday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 into federal law. Chairman of the celebration Brian Gosa sees the events as much more than a commemoration of one of the most monumental pieces of legislation in United States’ history.

“We really just want to take advantage of this opportunity to educate people on voting and be able to preach across all of the different age groups and demographics,” Gosa said.

The week of festivities and education kicks off on Wednesday with a youth election from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Dallas County Courthouse. Gosa said over 100 students grades 6-12 have already registered to vote in the mock election.

On Wednesday evening at 6 p.m., a group of leaders from Alabama will speak at Earl Goodwin Hall at Wallace Community College in a community Town Hall forum about the importance of the Voting Rights Act. Tara White, a professor at the college, Attorney James Anderson and Judge Collins Pettaway will all be speaking at the forum.

While the forum will educate citizens on the importance of the Voting Rights Act, its main goal will be motivating the community to vote in today’s elections.

“This one is not only a celebration of the history but is also an education for the people to move forward as we progress into the future,” Gosa said.

While much of Wednesday will be devoted to educating the youth on the importance of voting, Thursday is dedicated to celebrating and having fun.

The carnival on Thursday is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. to give students enough time to get back from their first day of school. The carnival will take place at Riverfront Park and will be complete with carnival rides, video games, concessions and many more activities.

Gosa said the community is excited for everything taking place throughout the two-day event.

“This is an event that will teach us and give us some things to think about that we can take in and start working on a better Selma, start working on a better Alabama and a better United States,” Gosa said.

Kids from grades 6-12 can still register to vote in the youth election at www.selmafriendsvrt.org or by texting #VOTE50 to 46786.