GRAND REPIDS, Michigan (WOOD) – Thousands of people across the country will celebrate the anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

On March 7, 1965, police brutally attacked black voters for marching rights as they walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The march was a turning point in the civil rights movement.

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Selma on Sunday and walked over the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The NAACP branch of Greater Grand Rapids took part in its own march. President Cla Jackson says the rally is more than a reflection on the past.

It was 57 years ago when hundreds of peaceful protesters took a 54-kilometer walk, heading to Montgomery from the Brown Chapel Church of the AME Chapel in Selma.

“It’s about interacting and making sure our voices are heard and it matters voices and our rights
ultimately protected, ”Jackson said.

They went for equal suffrage, but were soon stopped.

“It’s huge. This is an important historical event in terms of what happened and why it happened, ”Jackson said. “It was caused by the horrific what we call the lynching and murder of Jimmy Lee Jackson in Marion County,
Alabama.

The group, led by the late Congressmen John R. Lewis and Hosia Williams, was met with force by state servicemen as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. About 50 people were hospitalized as a result of the attack, but their injuries were not in vain.

The march was one of three that paved the way for the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed on August 6th.

“It was larger than a march, it was essentially about protecting their right to vote and involving people in this democratic process,” Jackson said.

The NAACP branch of Greater Grand Rapids on Sunday marched for the right to vote as they walked across the blue bridge in the city center.

“I think we have achieved incredible success in ensuring that all people have unhindered access to the ballot box. But now there was an attack that pushed us back not only in 1965, but also for years before, to deprive us of the right to vote, ”he said.

Members of the local NAACP office say they hope the changes will happen. They say that even if Congress or state and local officials do not act, it will not stop their efforts.

“Although the Senate did not pass us without passing the John R. Lewis Bill of Votes Act, we want people to know that we are still moving forward with a number of other groups to make sure the Vote Rights Act is passed and restored.” – Jackson said.

Video of the march can be found at the NAACP Grand Rapids Facebook page.

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