Thousands of people marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge Sunday afternoon to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of Bloody Sunday — a day where marchers were beaten, tear gassed and trampled while fighting for the right to vote on March 7, 1965. Sunday’s march marked the end of the 25th annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee, which started Thursday. Marchers came from across the country to walk across the same bridge as the foot soldiers of the voting rights movement, who helped change history. Vivianna Rodriguez came from Mobile, and this was her second time marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Her first time was when President Barack Obama came to Selma in 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
“It’s very breathtaking to cross the same bridge five feet away from John Lewis, and just being able to do this, it’s unexpressable,” Rodriguez said Sunday after making it back across the bridge.
Rodriguez is part of the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, and for her, walking across the bridge was personal. “For me it’s a little bit more personal just because of all that’s going on in politics right now with immigrants’ rights,” she said.
“This is very inspiring. The foot soldiers that did come out here and did the hard work, and also the ones who lost their lives, they laid down a great pathway for us as other activists. As our rights are being attacked, it gives us courage and inspires us to walk in their same footsteps because they paved the road.”