[Ed. – When worlds collide]
On Saturday, President Obama spoke at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the 50th anniversary of the attack on voting rights protesters known as Bloody Sunday.
As he spoke, a group of protesters wearing shirts with airbrushed portraits of those killed by police started banging on drums and chanted, “Ferguson is here. We want change!” and “This is what democracy looks like.”
Obama did not pause his speech or acknowledge the interruption. But some older people in the crowd became angry, shouting at the young protesters: “Your vote is your voice! Get registered!”
A few of the demonstrators were removed by state troopers, and the rest agreed to remain silent.
Later, the President seemed to speak directly to the anger they voiced:
Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report shows that, with respect to race, little has changed in this country. I understand the question, for the report’s narrative was woefully familiar. It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the Civil Rights Movement. But I rejected the notion that nothing’s changed. What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom; and before the Civil Rights Movement, it most surely was.