Many GA groups finalizing plans to celebrate Selma anniversary - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Many GA groups finalizing plans to celebrate Selma anniversary

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Many groups and organizations in the Chattahoochee Valley are making the journey to Selma, AL for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

The Muscogee County Democratic party may have the biggest group headed there. For the organization, the trip to Selma is turning out to be a huge task and they've put in at least 60 hours of planning to make it a successful trip.

Members of the Muscogee County Democratic Party are finalizing plans for the trip to Selma on Sunday.

"We got people coming in from South Carolina, Savannah, Jacksonville, FL," said Adam Parkman.

The organization started with one bus, but now they have more than 250 people going on five buses. Parkman has planned many trips before and says this one is taking a team effort.

"Come Monday, it will be my favorite. Because a lot of work went into it. We want to make sure people want to come," said Parkman.

After all their planning, these leaders also look forward to going to Selma and soaking in the experience of crossing the historic Edmond Pettus bridge.

"I'm going to be walking for my grandmother. I'll be walking for some other people grandchildren, but the names are so, so powerful because we are so privileged to be able to do this and I feel like I'm going to be carrying a lot of people on my shoulders," said Patricia Lassiter.

More than 250,000 people are expected to show up in Selma to commemorate the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," a 1965 protest march that sought to win federal voting protections for African-Americans.

"People who identify with their race with what happened. It's really an spiritual experience for them and it should be for all of us because so much injustice perpetrated on that day," said Judy Brouillette.

"As Americans, this is the closet we can get to a spiritual pilgrimage. We want to honor the people who have fought for us to get the right to vote," said Patricia Lassiter.

The local Democratic Party was inspired by the movie "Selma" to plan this trip, and with just two days before the historic journey, their plans will come full circle.

The Democratic Party buses will leave at 6:30 a.m. Sunday from the parking lot of K-Mart on Macon Road. The Democratic Party says they are not taking any more reservations for this trip to Selma.

Students and faculty from Columbus State University are also taking the two-hour journey from Columbus to Selma on Sunday. At least 100 students and faculty, free of charge will get to experience what they call a life-changing trip.

Sponsored by the political science department at Columbus State University, students will be some of the many who will celebrate the anniversary of the 1965 protest march. 

The faculty and students of different backgrounds say it's important to participate in this event and learn from the past. The group says they will wear special shirts proudly as they mark their place in history.

"I'm a black woman married to a white man and when I read about this history and the struggles of the people of African descent, I see exactly what they went through and some how I feel the pain," said Florence Wakoko-Studstill.

"It's American history to me. Its an American struggle when you consider the fight for all human rights. So this trip is very important to me and I'm really looking forward to it," said John Joseph.

Students from the history and sociology departments will also participate in the march. They are planning to take two buses provided by the university.

Their buses will leave at 8 a.m. Sunday. The group also plans to stop in Montgomery to see other civil rights sights during the trip.

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