Attending the 50th Anniversary of the March From Selma To Montgomery means a lot more to me now that Civil Rights hero John Lewis has passed away. Shout-out to my neighbor Eric Doshier for making that trip happen, I’ll never forget it. Thousands of people came to Selma, Alabama to mark the importance of the 1965 march that led to President Lyndon Johnson signing of the Voting Right Act.

President Barack Obama delivered a soul stirring speech about the Selma Civil Rights Movement and the heroism that took place at that very location. I remember being humbled by what people had to go through so I could have the right to vote. I also felt a sense of gratitude as I watched the first Black President speak, knowing that had it not been for the Selma march, Obama would never have been elected. Legends like Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, and Oprah Winfrey were all there to celebrate the occasion.

Several key activists who were instrumental in the historic march and Voting Rights Act being passed were also there with us. Amelia Boynton RobinsonDiane NashBernard Lafayette, and the late, great Representative John Lewis himself were among the keynote speakers that day. It was extra special because the event took place at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which was the sight of Bloody Sunday.

March 1965, more than 600 protesters crossed the bridge on their way to Montgomery and were met by an angry mob of white supremacists and police officers. The unarmed men and women were savagely beaten and some were even killed that day.

John Lewis had his skull cracked open on Bloody Sunday, but he never gave up. He saw to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 being passed and went on to dedicate his entire life to fighting for freedom and justice. We lost a civil rights giant last week, may he rest forever in peace. We can keep his memory and that of all the Selma foot soldiers alive every time we vote.

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