Glen Cove unity march commemorates King's 1965 Selma marches

From left; Rabbi Todd Chizner, of Temple Judea

From left; Rabbi Todd Chizner, of Temple Judea of Manhasset; Rabbi Janet Liss, of North Country Reform Temple; Rabbi Irwin Huberman, of Congregation Tifereth Israel; and Rev. Craig J. Wright of the Calvary A.M.E. Church march in unity from the Calvary A.M.E. Church to Congregation Tifereth Israel in Glen Cove. This March of Unity is in homage to the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the march, arms linked with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Herschel. (Jan. 12, 2014) (Credit: Barry Sloan)

Glen Cove residents Sunday symbolically re-created Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, paying homage to the civil rights leader's efforts to bridge racial and religious gaps.

While the walk from Calvary African Methodist Episcopal Church to Congregation Tifereth Israel was short and peaceful -- just 100 yards -- participants expressed the importance of keeping King's dreams alive.

"The program is to honor and celebrate unity between churches and synagogues who are pursuing a world without intolerance and promoting what we have in common," Rabbi Irwin Huberman, 60, of Tifereth Israel said. "We want to reinforce bridges between African-Americans and the Jewish community in unity and understanding."

He noted King walked alongside Jewish leaders in his marches from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in 1965.

On March 7, 1965, in the first of three such marches, hundreds of demonstrators pressing for voting rights were soon met with armed police resistance in what became known as "Bloody Sunday."

It was considered a key flashpoint of the civil rights movement.

Roughly 130 people took part in Sunday's march, including dozens of children. Participant Vivian Shelton, 55, of Glen Cove, said the event gave young people a chance to learn about the history of the civil rights movement.

Calvary A.M.E. Pastor Craig J. Wright, who helped lead the event, suggested that participants start with "We Shall Overcome" -- an anthem of the civil rights movement often sung when King marched.

"As we come together, we still understand there are people who will resist an opportunity like this," Wright told the crowd.

The march was part of Celebrating Our Unity, hosted at Tifereth Israel in conjunction with several other churches, synagogues and community groups.

Before the walk, the crowd listened to the writings of famed Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

"Despite the Holocaust, Anne still thought there was a lot of good in the world," Huberman said. "Humans can't be bystanders when there is injustice, but rather upstanders with kindness and goodness in the world."

After the march, excerpts of a King letter written while in a Birmingham, Ala., jail were also read. Both Frank and King would have turned 85 this year.

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