The White House announced President Obama plans to visit #Selma on March 7, 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the signing of the Voting Rights Act, which was gutted under his administration, but I digress. There is just one little problem....the organizers of the annual event are upset President Obama decided to come to #Selma on Friday, March 7, instead of Sunday, March 8. As a matter of fact, organizers didn't even know the President was planning to attend until they heard about it from via the media. That's a nice way of saying he invited himself, which is fine, he is the President of the United States of America, but it seems like he's making it about politics and not about the substance of the annual occasion.
The annual march, usually held on a Sunday in the first week of March, has been planned by state Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, and others annually since the 1970s. Sanders and other leaders said they were blindsided by Obama's announcement -- made in conjunction with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. -- that the president would march on the anniversary date: March 7.You think? I agree with what Hank Sanders said:
Sanders said there is a very specific reason for a Sunday march -- to commemorate "Bloody Sunday," that day on March 7, 1965, when state police beat marchers attempting to walk from Selma to Montgomery.
The marchers were stopped on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, and driven back. The incident was recently captured in the Paramount film, "Selma."
Sanders said it has always been especially poignant that the civil rights marchers were beaten on a Sunday.
The 1965 march, which was eventually successful later in March 1965, was seen as helping pass the U.S. Voting Rights Act, which invalidated state laws designed to keep blacks from voting.
Sanders said any attempt to hold two marches, one on March 7 and one on March 8, would be "divisive," and would send the wrong signals to the world.
"We are always glad when the president comes, but the Bloody Sunday march is sacred," said Sanders, joined at the podium by Democratic Montgomery representatives Alvin Holmes, John Knight and Thad McClammy; Alabama Democratic Conference chairman Joe Reed and Tuskegee mayor Johnny Ford. "It's sacred of that blood that was spilled on that Sunday . . . it's sacred because it's been commemorated every year, for 40-some years, and we intend that sacredness shall be preserved."That's a nice way of saying you are hurting and not helping Mr. President Obama, Sir.
The anniversary date is something Sanders said the march organizers never focused on in their decades of commemoration. Instead, the march organizers focused on a Sunday march near the date of March 7.Bloody Sunday is not about celebrating President Obama, it's about remembering the blood, sweat, tears, and personal sacrifice of those who suffered and died so an African American could someday be elected President of the United States. Selma is not about a photo op. It's about HOPE for CHANGE we can believe in.
And it's that tradition that people have planned around for the last year, Sanders said -- targeting March 8 for the 50th anniversary march. Sanders said Obama's announcement has thrown things into a state of confusion, and that people from all over the nation -- people with plans, reservations and travel schedules -- have been calling local organizers with questions.
Now if President Obama is coming to Selma on Friday to pardon for former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman that's another story....