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Bridge Awards honor longtime educators

Six people were honored Sunday at the Third Annual Bridge Awards at the Healing Waters Retreat Center.

Bruce and Betty Boynton, Cicely Curtis, Annie Pearl Avery, Dr. Adelaide Sanford and Rev. Liz Theoharis all received trophies in the shape of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, symbolic of their fight against injustice.

The Boyntons were honored for their dedication to Civil Rights in Selma. Betty Boynton was a Foot Soldier in 1965, while her husband practiced law in Tennessee.

“Selma has been on the ascendancy for violent crimes,” Bruce Boynton said.

Curtis, Selma School of Discovery Principal, was honored for her non-violent project at the school. Curtis, her grandmother, Alex Martin West and mother, Rachel West, were all foot soldiers.

“I’m so blessed to have my family share this moment with me,” Curtis said. “To be recognized for doing your job, something God called me to do, I’m in awe. The torch has been passed, we have to continue the dream.”

Theoharis was honored for her work as national co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign based in Milwaukee, which she calls the “Selma of the North.”

“I’m honored to receive the award because this room has people who dedicated their whole lives to this,” Theoharis said. “We have to keep up this fight.”

Sanford is a 93-year-old retired educator in New York. She credits materialism as the cause for society changing.

“We have allowed power to replace the truth and allowed money to be a dominant factor,” Sanford said.

Avery, who spent most of her career in Atlanta, said the Foot soldiers and Dr. Martin Luther King knew what was at stake.

“We had more to fight for than eating hot dogs in the same restaurant,” Avery said. “We were fighting for voting rights. When our people get elected, they change. We’re individuals now, that doesn’t get people anywhere.”