ua dems

Bridge Crossing Jubilee - Selma, AL

Today I went with 14 other UA College Democrats to Selma, Alabama.

48 years ago, in 1965, marchers took to the streets to protest the exclusion of African-Americans from the voting process by marching from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery. They were met with violent force from state troopers while trying to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge, and the occasion is now remembered as “Bloody Sunday.”

Just like those brave folks, we walked from Brown Chapel to the foot of the bridge - though our journey differed in that we passed through a security checkpoint and then stood around for quite some time. After a while we heard from several local officials and civil rights leaders, including Congressman John Lewis, Reverend Al Sharpton, and Martin Luther King III.

Then Vice President Biden spoke. He expressed his admiration and appreciation of the brave men and women who marched 48 years ago and reminded us that there is still work to be done. He talked about how he was involved in a small way with the movement back then and now wonders “Why wasn’t I there?”

We followed VP Biden, the other officials, and a sizable Congressional delegation across the Edmund Pettus bridge, singing “This Little Light of Mine” and “We Shall Overcome” and all those great songs. It was a moving experience, and I look forward to going back for at least the next three years.

So… I just realized how cool my life is right now.

I’m attending my state’s flagship university completely for free. I am, as a freshman, serving on the executive board of said university’s major political party affiliate. Through that association, I met Lilly Ledbetter last night (and lots of other awesome and important AL democrats). I am working on a real research project and could very well be published - almost unheard of for a freshman.

And the thing is, I didn’t even plan for all this to happen. I took the PSAT because I’m a weirdo who loves standardized tests, and that got me named a National Merit Finalist, and that got me a full scholarship. I heard the Dems had an opening on their E-Board and I thought, “Hmm, that’d be fun” and I signed up for an interview. I got an email about the Emerging Scholars program and applied on a whim, and I chose a mentor in a field I didn’t especially love because she’s nice and has awesome hair.

Somehow, this method of occasionally signing up for things that catch my eye has aligned into all these spectacular opportunities. I don’t know how it happened or why, but I’m so grateful. It’s this kind of thing that makes me think there must be some higher power overseeing things, because who could have pieced this life together otherwise?? I am incredibly lucky, and I can only hope this streak continues - because let’s be real, I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING.

I think I’ve just had the best night of my college life (so far).

I got an email last night that the College Democrats were going to meet up and go to this downtown sports bar this evening to play in a team trivia competition. So meet we did, and I hitched a ride with Robert (who is a bit of a scary driver, but not too bad). (Except on the way back a car in front of us had a license plate that read IAMPOOR and he tried to take a picture on his phone. I was relieved when he finally handed the phone off to his girlfriend.)

So we got to the bar and split into two teams (I got picked first HOLLA) and ordered food and such. (Nobody drank, though a certain someone who sat next to me kept whining that he wanted a beer but wouldn’t actually buy one.)

The game itself was really fun, and we actually didn’t do too badly. At the halfway point we were tied for fifth place out of over 20 teams, though we dropped below #10 in the end. What matters is that we beat the other half of the Democrats. :P

But other than that, we just had a really fantastic time. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. Connor sprinkling Robert’s seat with water every time he stood up, Robert explaining his secret desire to join a fraternity and take a (fake) black Jewish gay boyfriend to one of their formals… (I attempted to make a veiled reference to River Song by suggesting that he should also be disabled, and they LOST IT LAUGHING.) We had such a great time. I hope we can do that more often.

I’ll see them again Saturday afternoon for post-football tailgating (the game starts at like 11:20, so tailgating before as is tradition is sort of out of the question), and on Monday in lieu of a meeting, they want to go see that new Lincoln movie and have even agreed to go a little later so I’ll be out of French class. Life feels so good right now, you guys. I think I found my people.