This Jubilee was different than past years

Published 11:54 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016

It was so massive. It was so inclusive. It was so far reaching. It was so different. Yes, I am writing about the 23rd Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee on the 51st Anniversary of Bloody Sunday. We have had 22 previous Bridge Crossing Jubilees over the years and many more Commemorations of Bloody Sunday. Each has been different in its own way. However, this Jubilee was really different!

This Bridge Crossing Jubilee was massive. It involved more than 40 events. They ranged from the old fashioned mass meeting to the festival to rallies to receptions to the Bloody Sunday march to the mock trial to numerous workshops. Events also included the children’s sojourn, the Stomp Out the Vote Step Show, halls of fame inductions, the parade special church services, a theater festival, a golf tournament and more. More than forty events. It was truly massive. But this is not what made this Jubilee different.

This Jubilee was massive. Tens of thousands came from across the country and around the world. They came — black and white, red and yellow, brown and every other shade of human. They came — old and young, babies and seniors, teens and young adults, middle age and old age and every age in between. They came — male and female, girls and boys, men and women. They came — rich and poor, high income and low income, middle income and no income. They came in all circumstances of humanity. But this is not what made this Jubilee different.

This Bridge Crossing Jubilee was far reaching. It celebrated victories achieved in years past. It lifted those who served well in generations gone by. It commemorated deaths of those who struggled courageously. It shared the wisdom of those who lived wisely. It pointed the way to the future for the living. But this was not what made this Jubilee different.

This Bridge Crossing Jubilee was far reaching. It raised issues that bedevil us in the present day. It further prepared leaders to serve in the present age. It brought people together across chasms wide and deep.

It sent forth the committed to continue the struggle. But this was not what made this Jubilee different.

This Bridge Crossing Jubilee was different. It followed on the heels of the 50th Celebration where over 100,000 participated during just one day — Bloody Sunday. It came in the wake of the sitting President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush flanked by hundreds of dignitaries. It moved in the ripples created by the movie, Selma. This is part of what made this Jubilee different.

This Bridge Crossing Jubilee was different. The City of Selma was holding what appeared to be a separate Bridge Crossing Jubilee at the same time. Its agents had approached sponsors in the name of “Bridge Crossing,” causing confusion left and right. The media campaigns were also conflicting. But this was just a part of what made this Jubilee different.

This Bridge Crossing Jubilee was different. It commenced on March 3, 2016, just two days after the March 1 Super Tuesday Presidential primary election. Eleven states, including Alabama, were part of Super Tuesday. As a result, focus was divided; time splintered; resources sapped; energies diverted. But this was just a part of what made this Jubilee different.

This Bridge Crossing Jubilee was different. Presidential primary elections in Michigan and Mississippi were held just two days after Bloody Sunday. This resulted in a presidential debate being held hundreds of miles away in Flint, Michigan on Bloody Sunday. Leading political personalities who would normally attend the Jubilee were involved in far flung election activities. The usual media attention was scattered and splintered. But this was just a part of what made this Jubilee different.

This Bridge Crossing Jubilee was successful. Tens of thousands came over the four days running from Thursday, March 3 through Sunday, March 6. Some came before Thursday and some stayed well after Sunday. Some came with a spirit of celebration. Some came with a spirit of commemoration. Some came with a spirit of commitment. Some came with a spirit determined to continue the struggle for justice no matter the odds. Success in spite of even greater challenges helped make this Jubilee different in a different way.

This Bridge Crossing Jubilee was successful. The challenges were indeed great, but the successes were still greater. Every event was well attended. Every event was productive. Every event advanced the mission and furthered the Jubilee goals. This Jubilee succeeded in spite of great obstacles creating a special afterglow that still shines. This Jubilee was truly different in so many ways and for so many reasons.