Sunday program to mark Voting Rights Act anniversary

Published 9:32 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Two groups are teaming up to put on an event this Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act.

The act, which was passed in 1965 and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, was a direct result of Bloody Sunday — a day where peaceful marchers were brutally attacked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge as they were headed to Montgomery to fight for the right to vote — and other events around the country.

The celebration will be from 4-6 p.m. at the foot of the bridge on the Selmont side. It is being put on by the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and Saving Ourselves (S.O.S.).

Khadijah Ishaq, who helped organize the event, said it will be broken down into three parts. There will be a reenactment, a scavenger hunt for children and a recommitment service to get people committed to restoring part of the Voting Rights Act.

The scavenger hunt will give children a chance to learn about the Voting Rights Movement and what it took to get the act passed.

“They’ll have a chance to earn school supplies and some clothing, just different kinds of things that they will be eligible for depending on how many facts that they can come up with,” Ishaq said.

“You can stand up and just teach facts or tell facts, and it’s not as significant, but the fun part of the exercise is actually going and hunting for something. To actually get your fact, it makes an impression.”

The second part will focus more on reigniting people’s passion for voting rights. U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell and John Lewis, who was beaten on Bloody Sunday, recently introduced a bill to Congress called the Voting Rights Advancement Act. The act would restore part of the original Voting Rights Act that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

“A lot of times people say we got the right to vote and then forget. I think people need to be reminded,” she said.

“I think there is an age group that doesn’t take voting seriously. It’s just not a focus I guess back in my day around 30 years ago people were serious. It was so important to vote because it was such a struggle.”

The celebration is free and open to the public.

For more information, call (334) 526-2626.