by Eddie Burkhalter
The man behind the online petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge for Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who marched across the Selma bridge in 1965 and was attacked along with other civil rights activists, has launched a nonprofit aimed to see the renaming to its end and to remove other signs of the Confederacy.
Michael Starr Hopkins, a New York City attorney and Democratic strategist, on Monday announced the launch of the “The John Lewis Bridge Project,” which will help rename the bridge, the site of the “Bloody Sunday” attacked that helped usher in the Voting Rights Act, and help lift up similar efforts around the country, according to a press release.
“As we wipe away this country’s long stain of bigotry, we must also wipe away the names of men like Edmund Pettus. This isn’t just about changing the name on a bridge, this is about changing our country and living up to our own expectations,” Hopkins said in a statement.
“Since launching this campaign on Thursday, June 11th we have seen over 200,000 people join us in raising their voices to say it is long past time to change the name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Congressman John Lewis has been an example of courage, strength, and morality for decades. This bridge is a monument that should lift up his message and his story, not the story of a Confederate officer and Klan member.”
Hopkins started the online petition to change the bridge’s name earlier this month, and as of Sunday evening more than 220,000 had signed. It’s the latest in several attempts to do so.