Saturday, March 9, 2019

Hank Sanders: Sketches #1656 - Come with me as I participate in the 27th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee!

  Come with me. Come with me as I participate in the 27th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, Alabama. I will not go into the months of preparation. I will not share the behind-the-scenes developments. I will just start with the first day of the 2019 Bridge Crossing Jubilee. Come with me vicariously as I participate in the 27th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

  Jubilee is comprised of so many events I cannot possibly participate in all or most, or half or even a quarter of these 40-50 events. You are now vicariously experiencing some of my participation.

  Thursday, February 28th was the first day of 27th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee. I helped with a media release. With so many events, it is necessary to do some kind of media release virtually every day. This particular release involved new developments in the Freedom Flame Awards. Plus, we wanted people to be reminded of the Old Fashioned Mass Meeting and the Theatre Festival set on this first day of Jubilee.

  The mass meeting was overflowing with people from all over, including other countries. Spirits were joyful. Faya performed a memorial for voting rights warriors who have passed on. Among others, I gave greetings. I used my 2-3 minutes to share the creation and growth of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee from 1992 to the present. The keynote speaker was Rev. Jamal Bryant of Atlanta whose father married Faya and me 49 years ago. He spoke passionately.

  Friday, March 1st was the second day of Jubilee. I visited several venues with Jubilee events in full force, including the Children's Sojourn and the Education Summit. I was late. I met with television reporters at the bridge, handled many Jubilee matters, and facilitated the Jubilee Mock Trial. The case involved white supremacy in public education. The time to do the mock trial was reduced from two hours to one-and-half hours, making it very difficult with that time frame. I was one of the lawyers in the mock trial. I was on the plaintiffs’ side for the very first time. The courtroom in the Dallas County Courthouse was packed, and people present loved the Jubilee Mock Trial. I then attended "A Public Conversation" event with Reverends William Barber, Jesse Jackson, Mark Thompson and others at First Baptist Church. Come with me as I participate in the 27th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

  Saturday, March 2nd was the third day of Jubilee. I participated in numerous events. I went to the Foot Soldiers Breakfast briefly. It is always a special experience with firsthand stories from the Voting Rights Movement shared over a hearty breakfast. I slipped away from the Foot Soldiers Breakfast and went to the Jubilee Round Table discussion with political and spiritual leaders. It was entitled "From the Pulpit to the People". I skipped the parade and battle of the bands and briefly went to two "Voting Rights Under Fire" working sessions.

  The Alabama New South Coalition held a board meeting at my law office with soul food. I was the host. After the board meeting, I stuck my head in the Jubilee Street Festival. I then attended the Youth Summit. That night, I attended the Freedom Flame Awards. The list of awardees was outstanding. This event concluded a very full and long day.

  Sunday, March 3rd, was the fourth day of Jubilee. Dr. James Mitchell and I facilitated the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast. I presented the International Unity Award to the Honorable Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State, and the first woman presidential nominee of a major political party. I interacted with many leaders including the following presidential candidates: U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown; U.S. Sen. Cory Booker; and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Unity Breakfast was a very powerful experience, including all the great speeches from presidential candidates, civil rights leaders, and others. (My 11-year-old granddaughter Azali Fortier shocked us all with her speech that brought the crowd to its feet). The singing and theatre were also powerful. The place was filled with more than 700 people. The spirit was electric. It was such a moving event.

  The Unity Breakfast ended too late for me to go to the Brown Chapel AME Church where I was scheduled to make brief remarks about the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. I had so much to do even though I had help from on high. I grabbed a brief lunch with some friends as I struggled with the upcoming Bloody Sunday March.

  We were in the throes of a crisis created by weather forecasts. There was heavy rain, but we worked through that to continue the march. Then there was a tornado watch, but we worked through that as well. Then we had tornado warnings. We could not work through the tornado warnings. It was too dangerous. We just had to wait. I went straight to the bridge rather than trying to march from Brown Chapel AME Church. The weather miraculously changed. The rain stopped. The tornado watch ended. The tornado warnings were lifted. The sun came out.

  I had committed to being one of the 400 marchers who would lay down on the bridge in commemoration of 400 years of struggle for Africans in America. It was not easy for me to get down on the pavement and lie down on a hard surface. It was not easy for me to get up from lying down on the pavement. I made it down on the pavement by myself. However, I needed help to get up.

  I went with Secretary Clinton and others to the National Voting Rights Museum. I went to the Foot Soldiers Gospel Concert. I stuck my whole body in the Street Festival. I forgot to attend the Bridge Awards ceremony. I then struggled with another crisis. A man from Atlanta whom I knew in the late 1960s had come from Atlanta to the Jubilee. He was now without a place to stay and his automobile had broken down. Come with me as I participate in the 27th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee.  If you came, I believe you will not regret this vicarious trip.

EPILOGUE – Sometimes I wish for one boring day. I do not want but one. My life is filled with many activities, and that’s good with me. However, I just want one boring day.

  About the author: Hank Sanders represented District 23 in the Alabama Senate from 1983 to 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment