For immediate release
March 7, 2015
Coalition Plans Local March from Torch of Friendship on Saturday, March 7th to Commemorate Bloody Sunday and Call Attention to the Modern Fight for Justice and Opportunity
Miami residents who can’t go to Selma this Saturday for the national commemoration of Bloody Sunday will be able to take part in a local march to honor what many call the event most responsible for getting the Voting Rights Act passed 50 years ago.
The march will start at noon on Saturday, March 7 at the Torch of Friendship (401 Biscayne Blvd.) and proceed through the heart of Overtown, stopping through the site of the Miami World Center.
“Fifty years ago, Americans of all ages risked it all to secure everyone’s right to vote.” said Rev. Gary Johnson, Director of the Miami branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). “The sacrifices of the past have yielded some great gains, but the fight to ensure that everyone can be a part of those successes still continues, especially here in Miami.”
More than a dozen civil rights and community organizations will join SCLC, including: Florida New Majority; the Miami Dade County NAACP; AFL – CIO South Florida; Catalyst Miami; Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami; Florida Immigrants Coalition; LiUNA Southeast Laborers Council; Miami Workers Center; National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health; Power U Center for Social Change; SEIU Florida; St. John’s Baptist Church; and UNITE HERE Local 355.
“Today we see not just an attack on voting rights, but also battles against gentrification, police brutality, and the school-to-prison pipeline,” said Gihan Perera, Executive Director of Florida New Majority. “This is a chance for people to honor the past and to be inspired to continue the work of making this democracy – and this city – benefit everyone who dreams of a better life for themselves and their families.
Fifty years ago, the brutal March 7th beating of nearly 600 civil rights activists crossing the Edmund Pettis bridge in support of the fundamental right to vote opened the eyes of the nation to the violent harassment of those who sought to exercise their franchise. Ultimately, more than 25,000 Americans of conscience were rallied to make their way down South to support these voters and complete the march from Selma to Montgomery, providing the wind beneath Congress’ sails to pass the Voting Rights Act (VRA) that summer.
The VRA would go on to hugely impact our democracy, helping to exponentially increase the number of African American, Latino and Asian American voters and diversify the number of elected officials at all levels.
WHO: A coalition of local civil rights and community organizations and leaders. (full list above).
WHAT: March commemorating the events of Bloody Sunday
WHEN: March 7, 2015 at 12PM
WHERE: Torch of Friendship (401 Biscayne Blvd.)