Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bloody Sunday

“SELMA, Ala. (AP) — President Barack Obama... and about 100 members of Congress are converging on Selma, Alabama, on Saturday for the 50th anniversary of a landmark event of the civil rights movement.

Obama will speak in the riverside town to commemorate "Bloody Sunday," the day in 1965 when police attacked marchers demonstrating for voting rights. The violence preceded the Selma-to-Montgomery march, which occurred two weeks later. Both helped build momentum for congressional approval of the Voting Rights Act later that year….

Former President George W. Bush also plans to attend. Dozens of charter buses and thousands of people had already poured into the west Alabama town….”


This is an important time for Americans to pause and reflect. Without preconceived answers or judgment, but rather sincere interest, I want to understand:
What were the demonstrators seeking, and what was so provocative about their request? 
Why did some feel compelled to reject the demonstrators and their request?
What risks or threats did the demonstrators actually present?
What did the anti-protest authorities intend to achieve? Did they achieve their goal?
What values and reasoning did anti-protest persons proclaim to justify their reaction to the demonstrators?
Are there social justice issues today to which I am inclined to react irrationally, causing repression and harm to others and denying their personal dignity? Could Bloody Sunday happen today?
What is our (my) responsibility when we learn of oppression and the denial of dignity in our country or elsewhere the world?
Will I respond? How?
When faced with a perceived threat, will (do) I readily compromise treasured "American values?" If so, does that make me a greater threat than the perceived threat?