Civil rights campaigners have kicked off a 40-day march in the United States to highlight racial injustice for African Americans.
On Saturday, activists with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People set out from Selma, Alabama, where a march was held 50 years ago in support of watershed legislation enabling black people to vote.
Civil rights activists charge that a 2013 Supreme Court decision has permitted some states to reverse some of that progress.
“America’s Journey for Justice” across the US South draws on Selma’s significance in the 1960s civil rights movement to highlight the issue of racial injustice in modern America, organizers say.
The march will take an 860-mile (1,385 km) route going through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and campaigners will make their way to Washington, D.C., for a final rally on September 16.
Organizers seek to build momentum behind a renewed national debate over deteriorating race relations prompted by the killing of several unarmed African American men, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York.
“We can continue to be serially outraged, or we can engage in an outrageously patriotic demonstration with a commitment to bringing about reform in this country,” said Cornell William Brooks, leader of the NAACP.
“We know we can do the distance because our lives, our votes, our jobs and our schools matter,” said Brooks, chanting, “Let us march on, let us march on. Let us march on till victory is won.”
The NAACP aims to draw attention to racial injustice in a range of issues such as policing, public education, incarceration, voting rights and income inequality.
The unnecessary use of heavy-handed tactics by police as well as the racial profiling of some minorities has become a major concern across the US in recent years.