Oprah and thousands join her as she crosses the bridge in Selma.
She and the cast for the movie, “Selma,” took several takes in
their arm in arm walk together. It could not have been without
some impact on their lives. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Day, I was going to write about the anniversary of the bridge walk.
On January 8, 2015, some who chose to walk across the Edmund
Pettus Bridge located in Selma, Alabama. There is a photograph
of this recent bridge crossing. It is a small gathering but the post
has many who wish to view this. It is such a big deal that every
year, not always on the exact days of the peaceful marches, people
go to Selma to cross the bridge. To allow the freedom to soak into
their weary bones. It has not been an easy battle, even to this day.
The 50th “Golden” celebration of this famous event will be called
the “Bridge Crossing Jubilee,” held March 5-9th, 2015. There is
still time to join this annual event for its anniversary.
Its kick off Gospel church music concert will be on March 1, 2015
in Selma, Alabama. The memory of the deceased little girl innocents
will be shining their angelic glow upon the listeners.
This all is in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of those who
walked across that bridge, some who died or were severely injured.
It is also in triumph, progress made and the way one huge step can
make an equally large impact on a country or world. After all, our
President Obama may never had made it as far as he did, had not
those everyday men and women walkers had chosen to stay home,
out of fear.
The ending of the movie, “Selma,” lists several people whose lives had
changed due to their bridge walk. They include someone who had lived
over 80 years, a black man, never getting a chance to vote. There was
the white woman, first name Viola, (I did not take notes in the darkened
and hushed movie theater) who had chosen to join forces and cross the
bridge on the third time. She died when she drove a black person home
being given the hateful epithet, possibly real or imagined, by a storyteller
of “white nigger.” The one who rose to be a senator, one who wrote for
a paper and others, all had found and felt the tremendous impact that
came out of one day to remember.
I learned one thing, that I did not know since most of the story has
been retold and covered. This is still a powerful movie to watch.
I did not know about the three times the walk across the bridge
was carried out nor how each one ended.
This will not ‘spoil’ your viewing of “Selma,” but may make you pay
more close attention:
First time across the bridge, it appears to be one hundred walkers who
have decided to gather and try to make an attempt to rock the country.
There is a place where the leaders of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s close-
knit group gather, enjoy a hearty breakfast and there is joviality and
a sense of brotherhood. Then, sadly, there has to be choice to pick straws
who will be in the ‘front line.’ The details of who got the short straw will
not be revealed here.
This walk for the first time is filled with trepidation, since the sheriff of
Selma is extremely bigoted and even there are scenes with the governor,
George Wallace fearing what may happen. When they get to the precipice
of the bridge, a curved bridge where you must walk upwards and then
head downwards, you can see the footsteps slowing down.
The next time the group goes up the hill of the bridge, there is a much
larger group and there are reinforcements from priests, ministers and
others who are Caucasian. Their presence buoys the inner sanctum of
MLK, Jr.’s group, they feel vindicated for any wrongdoings and deaths
that have gone on in between. There is a tremendous surge of energy, as
they get to the crest of the bridge. MLK, Jr. stops, he kneels and he prays
silently. The rest of the thousands gathered arm in arm who are behind
him kneel and wait. Again, I won’t reveal what transpires.
History is being made. I felt the emotions in the audience, the bated
communal intake of breaths.
The third time the group gathers, it is in full preparation for the walk
across the bridge. Martin Sheen portrayed the judge who allowed the
sanction of crossing the Selma bridge. The governor and the sheriff,
with his ignorant band of white supremacists, are not going to get this
group to stop their crossing. It is going to happen, there is a broad
expanse and larger numbers than any of the first two attempts, there
are 2/3rds of the group white, according to one of the sources I read.
I had not intended to see another emotional upheaval movie. The first
three Academy Award nominated films, were all tear-jerkers. I had felt
‘spent’ and looking forward to meeting my good friend, Gary, who is a
sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch. I had agreed on either going to
“Birdman” or “Grand Budapest Hotel.” The first is with Michael Keaton
and since I felt he was a sensitive past actor who played “Batman,” I
could count on not dropping any tears. I also was amused by the trailer
and write-ups of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” with the funny actors in it.
We arrived at the Columbus Gateway Film Center on High Street, to
find a long line of young people chattering and bunched in a thick
group going into the building and up the stairs. Gary and I asked about
the line, it was for the multiple theaters showing, “American Sniper.”
We skipped around this, while Gary whispered to me, “We can use the
old people’s card, should someone try to stop us.” We went up the busy
escalator and when we got to the top saw the huge and bustling area of
the ticket sellers in front of crowded lanes. I was not sure what was going
on but since I assumed Gary may be like many guys I know, I left the line
and went to ask the guard. He said the line on the stairs was coming up
to join the group here, but they were all going to the “American Sniper”
film. So, being a little pushy, Gary took me through the melee and we
got to the front, only to find out that the two easy going movies, one
with a super hero and the other with a group of wacky hotel employees,
were: “Sold Out.”
I did not hesitate to say to Gary, “Let’s go see the movie, ‘Selma!'”
We got into the theater only to find it half full. We each said to the other,
this is sad. We both agreed we had not wished to see an emotional film,
but it may have ‘meant to be.’ I am so glad the karma had the other
two films packed and not allowing us to see this fine film.
I will say there are magnificent performances, the director and David
Oyelowo should have been given Academy Award nominations. I
won’t go into the whole debacle about why there is less diversity in
this awards competition, but I am just going to say I am happy that
People’s Choice and Golden Globes nominated this film,
since “Selma” is worthy.
The song “Glory,” sung with John Legend and the rapper, Common,
is very beautiful. Remember, I have seen three of the other contender
movies and will tell you their songs are not as ‘rich’ in sound and
Some thoughts to share about real and symbolic bridges:
~ We can choose to find our own private bridge to cross.
~ Peaceful choices make a difference.
~ Touching just one life, and changing it, is enough.
~ To be able to reach more lives proceed forward.
~ One action or kindness contributes to another producing:
a. Domino effect
b. Ripple effect
c. Paying forward
~ However you label your decision to help someone, it is still help.
~ Emotions and feelings spread easily.
~ Take courage in expressing positive choices.
~ Sharing emotions is instinctive, shown in these two examples.
a. Babies in a nursery cry together. The first one sets off the rest of them.
b. Toddlers in a sandbox see or hear someone else cry, reaching for a toy.
One may hand theirs over, without concern or need for praise.
~Giving in and letting go of prejudices and preconceptions is elevating.
~ Love has no boundaries once this happens.
Written by Robin O. Cochran
(Not taken from any sources, other than my own feelings about Selma’s bridge.)
“The Breakthroughs Issue” of December, 2014 “Preventions” magazine is
a great source of news about health and healthy food choices.
A man making a profound difference in prosthetic equipment is featured
in an article called, “Out on a Limb.”
This man, Eythor Bender, is using the ‘bridge’ I listed above to use a “kind
action” to create these wonderful and more natural replacements for arms
and legs. Frustrated by the medical breakthroughs available only to the
“elite” in our society, those who are wealthy, he came up with a program.
“Unyq” is a San Francisco based company which uses 3-D printers to create
symmetrical body parts to the user’s healthy limb. This alone is remarkable,
since in the past they did not often ‘match’ the size or shape to the original
on the other side of the body.
Bender was recognized internationally during the New York Fashion Week,
2014. His bionics were on a model walking the runway. Sure this should
make him proud or feel good about himself, but this quote from Eythor B.
says it ‘all:’
“People tell me it feels like they’ve got their legs back for the first time
in their lives. That’s really something!”
Bender expressed happiness that the new Unyq program is being covered,
since he has made the prices low enough, by many insurance providers.
Keeping the price down, will meet the needs of most of the patients who
need realistic and comfortable prosthetics.
This article was uplifting and made me feel it met the ‘requirements’ of
crossing a ‘bridge’ in medicine, with its ripple effect going into all areas
of society and hopefully, the world.
Another creative health program which is still in the newer stage and not
necessarily FDA approved is, Immuno-Therapy. This is to fight cancer
through immune system injections. There are three stories, one man and
two women, who participated in this trial program who have seen their
melanoma disappear. This is another ‘bridge’ to cross, hopefully the first
start will be like MLK, Jr.’s first attempt to cross the Selma bridge, one
that will be followed repeatedly, with more and more positive results.