Press Release: COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES TO SALUTE THE MARCHERS OF SELMA

50Selma

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES TO SALUTE THE MARCHERS OF SELMA

(Hartford)  Gary Collins, chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities announced today that on March 11, 2015 the Commission at a regularly scheduled meeting will act on a proposed resolution to honor the 50th anniversary of the Selma March for Voter Rights.

“On March 18, 1965, about ninety Connecticut residents boarded a chartered plane to Selma to provide added support for the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.  Half a century ago blacks and whites joined together to end the denial of a basic right as Americans – the right to vote,” Collins said. “These brave women and men risked life and limb in Selma to advance the cause of human rights—and make our lives possible.  Their story—which is as important as any other in forming our Republic–must be heard over and over again.”

Commission Deputy Director Cheryl Sharp said, “While many remember the Alabama state police beating blacks with clubs on that ‘Bloody Sunday’ few recall Jimmie Lee Jackson who was the inspiration for the Selma to Montgomery March.”  Jackson was a civil rights activist in Marion, Alabama, and a deacon in the Baptist church.  On February 18, 1965, he was beaten by troopers and shot by while participating in a peaceful voting rights march in his city.  Jackson was unarmed; he died several days later in the hospital.

“Neither Unitarian Minister James Reeb or Viola Gregg Liuzzo are well known, Sharp explained but “Both went to Selma to support the marchers, both were white and both were killed by white segregationists.”

Collins stated, “This is a particularly important time to consider the right to vote.  With the Supreme Court voiding a crucial section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and attempts across the country to deny the vote to minorities we need to again stand united for the rights of all.”

Tanya Hughes, Executive Director of the Commission concluded, “Eventually the forces of good will in our nation will conquer the bad.  Until then CHRO stands ready to protect all our people from discrimination no matter what form it may take.”

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