Days before the nation acknowledges the 50 years that have passed since peaceful civil rights demonstrators were brutality beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a new petition has circulated to rename the historic bridge in Selma, Alabama.
In an interview with Huff Post Live, Brandi Hatter, outreach coordinator for Students UNITE, spoke about the group’s decision to start the petition. The bridge was the scene of “Bloody Sunday” — the day peaceful protesters were attacked with tear gas and weapons by police officers on March 7, 1965 as they tried to protest the death of a young black man named Jimmy Lee Jackson.
It was also the starting point of the Selma to Montgomery marches, where thousands voiced their right to vote.
With the 50th anniversary of the tragic event just days away, Hatter says the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named after the Grand Dragon of Alabama’s Ku Klux Klan turned Alabama senator, needs to be changed for the sake of diversity.
“It’s time because it’s been 50 years and I would hate to wait another 50 years and it’d be the exact same,” Hatter said. “If not now, then when?”
The petition, which includes a plea for lawmakers to remember the triumphs the bridge has been home to, has garnered 153,305 signatures from all over the country.
“Selma and the Voting Rights Movement altered the course of history forever, and Selma has done too much for this country to remain unchanged,” the petition reads. “Selma is currently 80% African American, with a black mayor and majority African American local city officials. The name Edmund Pettus is far from what the city of Selma should honor. Let’s change the image of the bridge from hatred and rename it to memorialize hope and progress.”
All eyes have been on the historic area since the theatrical release of Ava DuVernay’s Selma, which took home the Oscar for “Best Original Song.”
Learn more about the petition here.
SOURCE: Huffington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty