The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The march lives on: Bloody Sunday’s 50th Anniversary

Courtesy of Hanan Esaili

By Hanan Esaili

Courtesy of Hanan Esaili

I’ve been known to not have what you would call “normal” college breaks. Freshman year of college, I did an alternative break in Alabama helping those affected by the hurricane and spent time at The Boys and Girls Club. On fall breaks, I’ve volunteered.

This past Christmas break, I went on a tour of Poland to educate myself about the Holocaust and witness the places where antisemitism is still alive and well. And this Spring Break, I traveled on a bus with 50 other people in the Deep South to see major places and meet with foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement.

While speaking with my mom today, she asked me, “Is it what you expected?” And to be honest, I’m not sure what I expected. I definitely thought it would be life-changing, which it has been, but I really had no expectations. But what a trip it was.

We heard President Obama speak. We walked with 80,000 people from all walks of life, all races, in solidarity over Edmund Pettus Bridge for Bloody Sunday’s 50th Anniversary. We saw Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church and his home. We felt where the bomb went off on his front porch. We met the daughter of a woman who took care of the Freedom Riders after they were attacked in Montgomery.

We witnessed where history happened. We have been a part of new history. We are now history.

President Obama spoke at the commemoration. Not only was this amazing because he is our president, but because not too long ago, it would have been literally impossible for him to become our leader. He spoke about how far we as a country and people have come, but how we have such a long way to go.

And it’s true. Just a couple of days ago, a video of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma chanting about how a “n****r will never be an SAE” was released. Dallas ISD administrators exchanged racist emails about co-workers. Ferguson’s Police Department has incredible racial bias within its system. A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I had an argument about “Selma” and its lack of Oscar nominations. Their reason was because it was “talked about too much.” A friend posted something about how far we have to go on Facebook and someone commented and said, “Oh, shut up about it. If you don’t talk about it, it’s not there.”

And there’s the problem.

We are not talking about it. We are ignoring it. We are pretending it doesn’t exist when race issues and voting issues and ALL issues are still very much here and now. We need to keep talking about it or else inequality will keep happening. Hatred will keep getting passed down through generations. The world will not change. All of our steps forward will have gone to waste because we will be sprinting backward.

You are responsible for becoming a better person than what you grew up in.

In the words of President Obama:

“Our march is not yet finished. But we are getting closer. Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding, our union is not yet perfect. But we are getting closer. Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile. Somebody already got us over that bridge. When it feels the road’s too hard, when the torch we’ve been passed feels too heavy, we will remember these early travelers, and draw strength from their example.”

Our march is not yet finished.

More to Discover