About 125 CWA members and leaders from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and other states, are a big part of this week's Selma to Montgomery, Ala., march and rally.
Marchers are sleeping in churches along the way, until they arrive in Montgomery on March 9 and rally at the steps of the state capitol. CWA President Larry Cohen and Vice Presidents Brooks Sunkett, Public, Healthcare and Education Workers, and Claude Cummings, District 6, also joined the march. Cohen will speak at Friday's rally, along with civil rights and Latino activists and leaders, and others fighting against the new assault on voting and civil rights.
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The route recreates the march of 47 years ago, and recalls "Bloody Sunday" in March 1965, when ordinary people were attacked by clubs, police dogs and tear gas as they tried to cross a bridge in Selma and continue on to the state capitol in their fight for civil and voting rights.
There's much more at stake than history. "Alabama enacted the nation's most vicious anti-immigrant law last year, making it a crime to be in the state as an undocumented worker. Parents are afraid to send their children to school, police can demand proof of immigration status at any time, and the law deprives immigrants, many of whom are working long hours at low wages, of any legal protection against abuse," said Chris Kennedy, CWA's Human Rights Director, who is marching to Montgomery.
Alabama lawmakers also approved new measures that will suppress voting, especially among the elderly, students, low income workers and people of color. Voter suppression efforts are underway in at least 38 states and CWA activists will fight in every state.
"Some 47 years ago, civil rights marchers stood up to hatred. They wouldn't turn back. We're building a movement that will stand up to today's hatred and the assault on the rights of ordinary people. And nothing will knock us down," said CWA President Larry Cohen.