Abigail Johnson and Michael Maskin
To support those marching on the 2015 Journey for Justice and to engage our communities with the demands of the national march – to ensure that every American citizen, regardless of race, religious belief, or gender identity, has free and equal access to voting, to a fair and equitable public education, to a fair criminal justice system, to health care and sustainable jobs with a living wage, and to equal treatment by police.
In the summer of 2015, we marched sixty miles in Georgia for the "American Journey For Justice," a march from Selma, Alabama to Washington, DC, organized by the NAACP. The demands of the marchers were simple, and strikingly similar to those who marched from Selma to Montgomery 50 years ago led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Upon returning home, we organized two marches in our own communities in solidarity with the national marchers.
While we marched through Georgia, the majority of passersby we encountered encouraged us with smiles, applause, or occasionally a honk from their car's horn. There were instances, however, when people did not receive us as well. There was a person who shouted at us with language laden with expletives. Another, after screaming at us, charged at us and physically assaulted one of the marchers. Yet another person waved their Confederate flag at us and told us we were disrespecting their heritage. Marching was not easy, and if we did not have the protection of state troopers, these encounters might have escalated. We found the courage to continue in the group of marchers, many of whom were older than us, who led us in songs and chants in the face of these harrowing encounters, and whose physical presence on the march was a great inspiration to us.