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US black rights group embarks on Alabama-to-Washington march

03 August 2015, 15:14

Washington - Activists from the NAACP, America's oldest and largest civil rights group, embarked this weekend on a month-and-a-half long march from Selma, Alabama to Washington, DC, to focus national attention on issues of racial injustice.

The 1 384km journey, "America's Journey for Justice", got under way on Saturday in Selma, seen by many as the birthplace of the US civil rights movement more a half-century ago.

Stops by the predominantly African-American civil rights group are planned in Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; and other cities in the US South before the marchers arrive in Washington in early September.

The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People said in a statement that among the issues it hopes to call attention to are criminal justice reform and demands for improved educational equity in schools across the nation.

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"For 40 days and 40 nights, the NAACP will mobilise activists and advance a focused national advocacy agenda that protects the right of every American to a fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage, and equitable public education," the group said in a statement.

"America's Journey for Justice will unite partners from the social justice, youth activism, civil rights, democracy reform, religious, not-for-profit, labor, corporate, and environmental communities to call for justice for all Americans under the unifying theme 'Our Lives, Our Votes, Our Jobs, Our Schools Matter'."

The NAACP also launched a social media campaign linked to the event, under the tagline #JusticeSummer.

The walk comes at a time of heightened racial tensions in the United States, in large part because of a rash of recent cases in which black citizens have died during police arrests, prompting allegations of discrimination and excessive use of force.


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