YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Sunday is the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when Civil Rights activists crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and were attacked by Alabama State Troopers.
On Sunday, people in Youngstown crossed the Peanut Bridge in downtown Youngstown to honor them and raise awareness for voting rights issues.
Non-violent activists began marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, 56 years ago.
On Sunday afternoon, Youngstown residents aimed to commemorate them.
“We’re walking quietly. We’re gonna walk two-by-two just as they did on March 7, 1965, and we’re starting at four o’clock because that’s the actual time when they left Brown’s Chapel,” said Penny Wells, executive director of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.
The Civil Rights activists were marching so they could get their constitution right to vote.
Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past planned Sunday’s event for community members hoping to honor the day.
They also wanted to raise awareness around voter suppression.
“Whoever comes or whoever hears about this event, we’re challenging them to be sure that they register to vote. That they go out and vote in every election, that they help with voter registration, that when they see some aspect of voter suppression, that they speak up and become active about doing something about it,” Wells said.
It is the first anniversary of Bloody Sunday since Congressman John Lewis passed away.
The organizers are honoring his memory and spirit as well Sunday.
“We are reminded about what happened in history, and reminded that in many ways, we have gone backwards in voting rights,” Wells said. “We as citizens of Youngstown need to make sure that we’re not complacent.”