Danielle Crim of Madison, and her mother Dawn Crim, are leaning against a tan building in downtown Selma, Alabama. They’re surrounded by thousands of people, all waiting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the historic reenactment of Bloody Sunday on its 50th anniversary.
“I’m looking forward to kind of feeling how Martin Luther King, and all the other people felt when they went across that bridge, and feeling their spirits walking with me,” says Danielle.
“Just having an opportunity to experience history with my daughter,” adds Dawn. “My mom did this with me when I was little, we had never gone back to anything this historic, but she was always one that made sure that we understand our history, and I think we had a special bond because of it and I’m wanting to have that bond with my daughter, so I just felt like this is something we needed to do together.
Dawn and Danielle are part of a national health movement called GirlTrek. Made up of thousands of African American women, GirlTrek encourages healthy living through walking. The movement is rooted in Civil Rights history, and hundreds of GirlTrekers from around the country are in Selma for the anniversary, taking buses to be here today.
“The reason this group of women came together was because those she-roes walked, and made changes, and so, it really is about taking care of ourselves, bonding, supporting one another, empowering one another, but also remembering that those women walked, and because they walked, lives changed, and because we walk, lives can change,” explains Dawn.
Eventually, Dawn, Danielle, and their fellow GirlTrekers become a part of the crowds moving toward the bridge for the historic reenactment. The crowd inches along. A walk that usually takes 15 minutes or so stretches to hours as thousands cross. But, it’s worth it. Eventually, Dawn and Danielle make it to middle of the bridge.
“You know, even though it was moving slow, that little bit of determination, think about all it took for them to get over that bridge. We didn’t have any armed guards or horses or anybody waiting on us,” says Dawn.
“I feel very proud of myself and my mom and everyone else who came today to walk across this bridge because it was a very long walk,” says Danielle. “I feel very proud of the people who came 50 years ago who walked across this bridge for their own rights.