Washington: Activists from the NAACP, America's oldest and largest civil rights group, embarked this weekend on a month-and-a-half long march from Selma, Alabama to Washington, DC, to focus national attention on issues of racial injustice.
The 860-mile (1,384-kilometer) journey, "America's Journey for Justice," got under way Saturday in Selma, seen by many as the birthplace of the US civil rights movement more a half-century ago.
Stops by the predominantly African-American civil rights group are planned in Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; and other cities in the US South before the marchers arrive in Washington in early September.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said in a statement that among the issues it hopes to call attention to are criminal justice reform and demands for improved educational equity in schools across the nation.
"For 40 days and 40 nights, the NAACP will mobilize activists and advance a focused national advocacy agenda that protects the right of every American to a fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage, and equitable public education," the group said in a statement.
"America's Journey for Justice will unite partners from the social justice, youth activism, civil rights, democracy reform, religious, not-for-profit, labor, corporate, and environmental communities to call for justice for all Americans under the unifying theme 'Our Lives, Our Votes, Our Jobs, Our Schools Matter'."
The NAACP also launched a social media campaign linked to the event, under the tagline #JusticeSummer.
The walk comes at a time of heightened racial tensions in the United States, in large part because of a rash of recent cases in which black citizens have died during police arrests, prompting allegations of discrimination and excessive use of force.