The bridge to the ballot
The Red Wing area chapter of Church Women United usually holds programming for female audiences, but the group says its World Community Day event next weekend is applicable to everyone.
Otis Zanders, former warden of Minnesota Correctional Facility-Red Wing, will present “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot” 9:30 a.m. Friday Nov. 6 at First Lutheran Church, 615 W. Fifth St. All are welcome to this free event.
Zanders will speak about his experiences growing up in the South and attending the 50th anniversary this year of Bloody Sunday — when voting rights marchers from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, clashed with police March 7, 1965, at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, regarded as a turning point of the civil rights movement.
“I think his perspective will give us another view of that happening; what has changed and improved since then, and what still needs to be worked on,” said Bonnie Stang, chairwoman of the local Church Women United chapter.
The World Community Day theme for 2015 is “Our Journey Together,” intended to unite the faith community by sharing stories from different cultural backgrounds, according to the organization’s website.
Stang said the theme and Zanders’ presentation are important for the Red Wing area to make sure all members of the community are supported and feel welcome.
“It may open our eyes to things we could do differently,” she said.
Zanders is president and CEO of Ujamaa Place, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit assisting young African-American men “who are economically disadvantaged and have experienced repeated cycles of failure.”
Church Women United is an ecumenical organization of more than 1,200 local and state units across the U.S. and Puerto Rico advocating for peace and justice issues. World Community Day, held the first Friday in November, is one of the organization’s three yearly celebrations.
“It’s a time when we gather together to acknowledge those things we agree on, but also respect the things we differ on,” Stang said.
She added that the local chapter is looking for new members to keep the longstanding organization going.
For more information, visit www.churchwomen.org.