A group of civil rights activists have set out on “America’s Journey for Justice,” a historic trip that will take them 40 days and 40 nights to complete, marching from Selma, Ala., to Washington D.C. to fight for civil rights.
Sponsored by the NAACP, the group, which left from Selma on Saturday, is expected to arrive in Washington D.C. on Sept. 15, where they will hold a rally in front of the Capitol. The first leg of the 860-mile march has already drawn more than 200 demonstrators.
“We’re marching for our lives, our votes, our jobs, our schools,” NAACP Southwestern Region Organizer Quincy Bates told NBC News. “We’re demanding real policy reform, and we need support from everyone in our country.”
Demonstrators have planned stops in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia in which they will visit local schools and churches to educate citizens on criminal justice and education issues.
“This allows for the space for us to have some more conversations about the individuals that we don’t know outside of the Mike Browns and Travon Martins,” Erin Gaddis, president of the Texas NAACP Youth and College Division, said to NBC News.
One of the group’s primary goals is to fully restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which has been stripped in recent years and allows states to alter voting regulations in potentially discriminatory ways without federal approval.
“We are being attacked,” Bates said. “Our conscious has been heightened because of the different criminal injustices that we’ve been experiencing. It’s the perfect time to let them know that we will not stand for these different injustices in our community.”