Saturday Jubilee events mark both celebration & struggle

Posted by Samuel King - bio | email

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - The Bridge Crossing Jubilee had something for everyone on Saturday.   The events ranged from the annual parade downtown to a serious discussion on youth violence.

People lined the streets of Downtown Selma, within the shadow of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.  They peeked out from under canopies and umbrellas and watched bands and dancers, and floats making their way through the streets of Selma.

"No, the rain didn't stop me," said Sharon Melton of Marion Junction.   "I don't care if it snowed I would still be out here.  I don't care if it was a tornado I would have still been out here."

"It's history.  I've been coming here now for probably the last 30 years.  And I mean rain, shine, sleet or snow.  I am here," said Roosevelt Shannon, a Selma native.

The rain did forced a number of changes to Saturday's events.  For instance, the music stages were moved indoors to the School of Discovery and Old National Guard Armory.  Some vendors had to move to parking lots in the area.

"I know we're part of the Jubilee, but with it being in a different location, inside we can't see the singing or anything like that," said Teresa Sears, a vendor.   "It sounds good from the outside."

Other events that had a more serious tone, like the panel discussions at Wallace Community College.  Panelists discussed issues facing the African-American community today and how they relate to the past.

"This is holy ground, where a great struggle culminated," said Sen. Hank Sanders, D- Selma.  "It was not the only place the struggle was going on, but it culminated here.  Blood was shed, lives were lost."

Sanders was among those who attended a discussion on the 2010 Census and its implications for redistricting and the Voting Rights Act.

"If that redistricting process is not monitored or not participated in effectively, we could end having a lot less representation than we currently have," Sen. Sanders said.

Another panel, made of up of local clergy members, discussed ways to reduce violence among young black men and keeping them more engaged in school.

"We're going to have to do something more than celebrate civil rights.  We have to celebrate our children.  You have to get concerned about your children," said Rev. Ed Nettles, of the Freewill Missionary Baptist Church.

So for many people, this weekend served as a celebration of past victories, and a reminder of what lies ahead.

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