Over 150 members – with their families in tow – of Local 516 (American Apparel) and Local 1633 (Crown Laundry), both in Selma, Alabama participated in the Edmund Pettus Bridge march last weekend. UNITE HERE members were led by local presidents Jannie Thomas and Betty Williams and joined by President John Wilhelm and Ms. Willie Jones from the Southern Region.
The event marked the 42nd Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when 600 civil rights activists were attacked by state and local police as they marched across the bridge peacefully calling for African American voting rights in the state. The original march and others to follow are largely considered turning point events in the American civil rights movement.
"I was just seven years old when the original march took place "I really believe it’s important to keep the dream alive," said President Jannie Thomas. "Our goal is to continue to organize locals in the South and to keep our roots in the civil rights movement." Each year, UNITE HERE encourages its members to take an active role in the parade, and it had the largest turn-out of any union at this year’s events.