While President Barack Obama was giving one of the most moving speeches of his Presidency at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on the 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”, hundreds of Indianapolis area residents gathered at Light of the World Church in a solidarity rally and March called “Selma Is Now.
The purpose of the march was for Indianapolis to commemorate what happened in Selma 50 years ago when hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were beaten, clubbed and mowed down by horses all because they were protesting to obtain the right to vote. Speakers Dr. David Hampton, Pastor Light of the World Church, former State Repo Bill Crawford, City-County Council President Maggie Lewis, former US Attorney and mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett, Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge, Dr. Thomas Brown and others spoke eloquently about the challenge to voting rights here in Indiana. Several bills in the Indiana Legislature this session would restrict the ability for individuals to cast absentee ballots. The proposed laws targets college students in Indiana’s college towns in a attempt to discourage them from voting where they spend most of their year – in Indiana attending school. The bills are part of a nationwide effort to restrict voting rights. especially targeting college students in college towns, and racial and ethnic minorities. After the speeches, hundreds marched and walked 5.3 miles downtown Michigan Road, Dr. Martin Luther King Street and West Street, Ohio Street to the State Capitol in a symbolic recreation of the final Selma march to Montgomery Alabama led by Dr. Martin Luther King.