From the Edmund Pettus Bridge to the Continental Bridge
Remembering the Montgomery-to-Selma March
JESSICA NGBOR | 3/19/2015, 5:57 p.m.
The Dallas Examiner
“I stand on this bridge because of its great symbolism. A bridge is something that connects one side of the road across the river, across difficulties with the other side,” said Rev. Holsey Hickman during a local reenactment of the Selma-to-Montgomery March held on its 50th anniversary, on March 6.
“You may have heard about the report on Ferguson that came out this week, how the system was rigged against Black people,” she continued. “When the system is rigged against any citizen, it’s also rigged against citizens who think that they benefit from the system being rigged. It’s designed to put more power in the hands of fewer people. It’s designed to take away the right of people to vote for their representatives. That’s what it’s about. It’s about creating systems that puts power into fewer hands and those hands are not hands that are operative on the basis of democracy.”
Students from Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center joined Dallas residents and activist as they marched across the Continental Bridge.
Rev. Mark Walz offered the invocation, followed by a presentation of the history of the Selma and the significance of voting.
“We gotta what?” Clara Brown Trimble exclaimed.
“Vote,” the crowd yelled back.
“The long and short of it is, you got to vote. If you don’t vote you’re working for the people who are against you. If you don’t vote you’re working for the people who are against your children. If you don’t vote you’re putting power in the hands of people who care nothing about the future of your children,” Hickman stated firmly.
Juanita Wallace brought voter registration cards to show the simplicity of registering to vote. She pointed out the seven questions on one side of the card and the fact that it doesn’t require postage stamps.
“After a week you will receive another little card and it will tell you where you’re suppose to go to vote. Then you get up that morning, get dressed, put on your wonderful voting outfit and go to the polls. That’s how it works,” Wallace explained.
Wright explained how exercising the right to vote has a powerful history behind it.
“Seeking the right to vote had a dangerous proportion back then, but today we must move past the racism,” he noted. “We must do more work and we must work together as Black, Whites and Browns. We must come together and work. If we don’t stand for something, we’re going to fall for anything. We gotta stand for freedom. We gotta stand for justice. We gotta stand for the right to vote. And we need to get off of our backsides and go vote.”
The Common Ground Street Choir performed as marchers sang along with them. Wallace went around the crowd with a megaphone and asked residents why they vote. Answers ranged from “freedom” and “peace” to exercising their right to have a voice.
Candidates running for Dallas City Council office were introduced.
Pastor Charles Stovall talked about the struggle for the right to vote.
“There were three marches at Selma. The first one ended in Bloody Sunday where people were beaten. There was a second time they went to the Edmund Pettus Bridge and they turned around and did not cross,” he shared. “It was only the third try where the Edmund Pettus Bridge was crossed and the rights to vote for all Americans became a fact in America. I say that to say that justice may not come in the first try, it may not come at the second try, but you have to keep on marching and keep on working until justice is done.”
Hickman led the closing prayers and the event ended as marchers linked arms and sang.