Organizations helping Civil Rights movement demonstrators impacted by pandemic

Several Civil rights organizations are taking action to support the people who fought for social change.

Many who protested against racism during the Civil Rights movement are now facing financial struggles due to COVID-19.

"I can't work because of COVID," Civil Rights Activist Joanne Bland said. "It was just getting bad."

In 1965, Bland was among the civil rights demonstrators, including late Rep. John Lewis, who were attacked as they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

After years of fighting for change, the activist never thought she'd have to stand in line for food this past Thanksgiving.

"The day I received my check, I had a $230 electric bill, and how bout it covered that. It was a tremendous weight off my shoulders," Bland told FOX 5's Brian Hill.

"I know some of the cases, they are very, very dire," Atlanta native and Civil Rights Activist Charles Person said.

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Person is part of the group working to help those he marched alongside in the 1960s.

With assistance from various organizations like the NAACP, the Civil Rights Veterans Relief Fund will help with food, housing, medical and utility bills.

"Some of the sacrifices some of the people have made, we can never repay them. But at least for the time that they have left here. We can at least make their lives a little bit easier," Person explained.

Many involved in the movement left school, lost their jobs, were arrested or killed as they fought against injustice.

"I know of several who also need medical treatment and because they were in the movement for so long, they don't have job related medical care. It's just become very, very difficult for them to get the treatment they need," Person explained.

Organizers said this is a dire situation for those who sacrificed so much, and unfortunately, they don't have the financial flexibility to manage.

"I see a lot of people who were there with me in the 60s struggle for basic rights and here today they are struggling to put food on the table," Bland said.


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