Thousands of citizens representing every walk of life transcended on the State of Alabama in what most would recount as historic and a once in a lifetime event where our African-American President of the United States Barack Obama would join the solidarity, speak to the current and past struggles and charge others, of all races with the responsibility to not only remember ‘Bloody Sunday’ but to respect it with deeds of constant change.
The world not only took notice, but the City of Birmingham, a miniature Mecca of the Civil Rights Movement that evolved our nation into lasting change, paid homage to the soldiers that were thrust into Selma’s bloodiest Sunday.
Among many state, local and nationally elected officials, Birmingham City Councilor Sheila Tyson was on hand with citizens from all over the City of Birmingham her eyes formed tears as one who lived through the struggle and still pays it forward in remembrance of those who fought with their souls might for voting rights for everyone.
“Word’s just can’t describe how I felt being in the same atmosphere in Selma with all nationalities paying tribute to foot-soldiers, citizens and leaders that took on the brutality of bigoted law enforcement 50 years ago during Bloody Sunday, “ Councilor Tyson said. “This celebration speaks volumes to what our nation once knew of Alabama as being one of the most hostile racially charged states in the nation. Now to have all races come together and strengthen each other in solidarity and harmony, recognizing and respecting our beliefs and culture, we can truly see the evolution of the tainted south in rare form. Celebrating our unity from Selma’s life-changing event is the manifestation of our prayers being answered, our charges kept and our WILL to do more as communities. It makes our roles as city leaders worth it.”
Councilor Sheila Tyson was not the only Birmingham City Councilor that took to the streets to marvel in the crowd driven excitement, musical accolades from national recording artists and gospel choirs and ceremonial marching in Selma, Councilor Steven Hoyt also took to the activities with proud strides, embracing the more than great turnout.
“This is a prime example of what our forefathers, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth and countless other soldiers risked their lives for, “ Councilor Hoyt said. “They literally came to blows with opposing segregationists and constantly echoed voices of reason in the midst of what appeared to be a hopeless battle to many. Events like this prove their struggles were the perfect seed sown that is now reaping this great harvest of unity all over our nation. I’m just so proud that my family and I can take part in realizing this great, unforgettable and infectious attitude change. I know this is not the end of the movement, I just know it.”
This article is a contribution from Chiara Morrow in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office.