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Intergenerational Activism Inspires at Selma Anniversary

Intergenerational Activism Inspires at Selma Anniversary

Gloria Smith,
Chair, 9to5 Atlanta

I can never forget how I felt walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge March 8. I was filled with so many emotions. I cried. I chanted to the top of my lungs. I could feel the spirits of the elders who travel across this same bridge. At times my body quivered and shook, thinking about what it must have been like to have been beaten and brutalized. There was a moment when I felt angry, but it left me quickly and was replaced by thoughts of the victory that was won.

Fifty years ago I was only 15 years old, and didn’t fully understand what was going on. As I grew older I was able to understand the struggles folks of color had just to register to vote. Because of that struggle I will never miss an opportunity to vote. I am thankful and grateful to Amnesty International for inviting me to attend the 50th Anniversary of the Selma March. I was happy to share this precious experience with my 9 to 5 members and staff. I went because I wanted to be a part of such a historical celebration.

I have been a strong advocate for get-out-the-vote campaigns and for our civic rights for many years. It pleased my heart to be in a van in the company of young people who have the same interests. I was always concerned with the younger generation, whether they will continue to fight for equal justice and rights. The students from Fisk University, Middle TN State University and University of GA made me feel 100 percent confident that I can rest now and lay my mantel down without worry about if the youth will pick it up. They promised and assured me that I had nothing to worry about; that they will continue to fight, educate and advocate until victory is won.

Two generations, one purpose, crossing an historic bridge together for the 50th Anniversary of Selma.