NAACP leaders on Saturday kicked off a 40-day Journey for Justice march across the South, beginning with a rally in Selma, Ala., a city that played a pivotal role in the the 1960s civil rights movement, according to the Associated Press.
The goal of the march is to "call attention to the issue of racial injustice in modern America," the report says. The trek will span Eastern Seaboard states before ending in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15.
The event began on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where peaceful marchers were attacked by police in 1965, spurring the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which was signed into law 50 years ago this week. In November the group led a march from Ferguson, Mo., to Jefferson City, Mo., in protest after Darren Wilson, a white police officer, was not indicted in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen.
"We know we can do the distance because our lives, our votes, our jobs and our schools matter," said Cornell William Brooks, president and chief executive of the NAACP, reports Reuters.
"Let us march on, let us march on, let us march on till victory is won," said Brooks, as he led about 200 marchers across the bride on the first leg of the journey, Reuters writes.