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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Some religious leaders and activist groups in the the Tennessee Valley say some of the national rhetoric surrounding race is unacceptable. They believe progress can only be measured if history is revisited. That is why several people stood at the Madison County Courthouse steps on Sunday evening.

“It’s a remembrance kind of event for the people that lost their lives to lynching,” said event organizer Andrea Carter.

Carter said many are unaware that 11 people were lynched in Madison County more than a hundred years ago.

“For so long the attitude has been apathy. I think it’s wonderful to see the pendulum slowly shifting toward engagement, and choosing to look at our past with open eyes, and an open heart to try and do something positive with it, as opposed to shunning it,” said Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar.

David Person said events like this are a sobering reminder of where we came from.

“I think we are afraid. We are afraid to dredge up the pain. We are afraid because we don’t want to feel culpable for something that we had no control over,” said Person.

Person said to move forward, we need to fully understand the past.

“The good thing is that we can do things together regardless of your view of politics, or partnership, or ideology that can move us forward as a nation. That’s what we are aiming to do here tonight,” said Person.

“It’s nice to see that even though we are different and things are going on around us, that there is a shoulder for me to lean on that doesn’t look like mine.”  said Carter.