Monday, February 11, 2019

Hank Sanders: Sketches #1652 - The Jubilee is coming!

  The Jubilee is coming! The Jubilee is upon us! The 27th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee is coming to Selma, Alabama. It is less than a month away. It arrives on Thursday, February 28th and continues through Sunday, March 3rd. The Jubilee is really upon us!

  The Jubilee is massive. There are 40-50 events over the four-day Jubilee period. Additional events not sponsored by the Jubilee take place as well. There is so much happening. The Jubilee is massive in many ways.

  People come from across the country for the Jubilee. Some come from Africa. Some come from Europe. Some come from the Caribbean. Some come from South America. Some come from other parts of North America such as Canada and Mexico as well as Central America. A few even show up from Asia. Tens of thousands come from all over. They are old. They are young. They are in between. They are Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Native American and various combinations thereof. They are male and female with various orientations. All are welcome. All come for the Jubilee.

  The Jubilee is the largest annual civil rights gathering in this country and perhaps the world. But it cuts across all kinds of issues because there are so many voices from so many places. People of all ideologies come and communicate and share one with the other. The Jubilee is really upon us!

  The Jubilee started in 1992. Earlier events covered just one day with reenacting the Bloody Sunday March on Sunday afternoon. Then events started being held that Sunday morning as well. The Jubilee brought Saturday into the equation with the Jubilee Street Festival. Workshops and other events also sprung up on Saturday. Then events commenced on Friday. Eventually, the Jubilee started on Thursday. It grew until there were 50 or so events. It grew until tens of thousands come from far and near for the Jubilee each year.

  The Jubilee is multifaceted. It is a celebration of struggles fought. It is a celebration of victories won. It is a memorial for lives taken and lives given and lives hurt. It is a planning session for current and future struggles. It connects the past, present and the future.  It covers so much.

  The Jubilee celebrates the struggle for voting rights. The Jubilee memorializes the deaths sacrificed for the right to vote. The Jubilee lifts voting victories. The Jubilee lifts the voting challenges that are facing us. Voting touches everything in our lives. It touches the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the births we make, the health we have, the work we do, the education we get, the recreation we engage in, the transportation we use, the deaths that claim us and so on. Because voting touches everything in our lives, the Jubilee touch can touch anything in our lives. That is why such varieties of people come from all over the world. The Jubilee is really upon us!

  The Jubilee has grown every year since its inception. However, it took a big leap in 2000 when President Bill Clinton came as a sitting president to participate. Since that time, two other presidents have participated, one sitting and one past. One sitting vice president has come. Many leaders from across the country have come. It was a presidential lifting event for Senator Barack Obama in 2007. It was a powerful platform for President Obama in 2015 on the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the Voting Rights Act, the Selma-to-Montgomery March, and other struggles that came to a head in 1965. President Obama used the occasion to lift the right to vote. More than 110,000 persons poured into Selma, a city of just 18,000.

  This year, the Jubilee starts on Thursday, February 28th with the Old Fashioned Mass Meeting. A great preacher will be speaking. He understands how the struggles of 1965 connect to the struggles of today and tomorrow. The next day, Friday, brings many workshops, activities for children, the Public Conversation, the Jubilee Mock Trial, and much more, all led by great presenters.

  On Saturday, there are numerous events ranging from the Jubilee Parade to the Jubilee Festival, to work sessions to inductions into various halls of fame, to youth events to the Freedom Flame Awards, and more. There is plenty for everyone.

  On Sunday, the day starts with the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast. A number of presidential candidates will speak. They are following in the footsteps of Senator Barack Obama who spoke at the Unity Breakfast in 2007 and went on to become president. Then there are events at Brown Chapel AME Church and other churches. There is the March from Brown Chapel to the famous Bridge. There is the Bloody Sunday Rally. There is the March across the Bridge. There are other events such as the Freedom Gospel Concert after the March. And the Festival will still be going on.

  Every Bridge Crossing Jubilee is special. Some are more special than others. This Jubilee is more special because of a unique initiative – Lift our Vote 2020. It is a collective effort lifting our vote on all fronts. This initiative will infuse the workshops, the rally, the March to the Bridge, the March across the Bridge, the Unity Breakfast, the old fashioned mass meeting and virtually everything else. I pray the Lift Our Vote 2020 Initiative becomes a mighty movement that lifts all votes in the year 2020. The Jubilee is really upon us!

EPILOGUE – The Bridge Crossing Jubilee is a big, powerful event. The story of the Jubilee is a big, powerful story. I just wish I could really tell the big, powerful story that the Jubilee was, is, and continues to become.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment