Monday, March 12, 2012

Notes from Montgomery

On Day 7 of the Southern Circuit tour,  I pulled out of Montgomery airport in the early afternoon into pure gridlock. What was all the traffic at this hour?  I noticed groups of people walking along the road, many looking Hispanic or Native American, some carrying flags or banners.  They were converging on a big tent and thought, is this a pow wow?  How amazing!  

Then I noticed the signs and t-shirts that read, Stop HB 56, We are the 99, Proud to be Union, I Am a Man, We Are One.  I stopped and talked to a man named Samuel who told me that the people marching along the road had just walked all the way from Selma to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s march 47 years ago that day, and to protest the draconian Alabama anti-immigrant law HB 56, in particular its potentially devastating effect on voting rights.  Near the end of their march, they were gathering outside Montgomery to prepare for the march to the State Capital the next day.

To see the interview with Samuel, click the video above:

That night, as I screened We Still Live Here at the Capri Theater downtown, I thought about the marchers a few miles away, their heart and determination to honor Dr. King and to keep fighting for a better world.  At first these thoughts made what I was doing seem insignificant - screening a documentary to a few people - but my passion for this film and its story soon rose up  and replaced that feeling with a sense of history and purpose.  Aren't we all fighting for the same thing?  A more just world where the word freedom has deep personal meaning, where diversity is honored and valued and the many unique communities in our midst are appreciated and prized as part of the rich fabric of our country , and then I felt part of the marchers with their banners saying, We Are One.