WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Thursday, a memorial opens in Montgomery Alabama honoring the thousands of victims of lynching.
Democratic Senator Doug Jones plans to visit the site this week and he says the state has come a long way over the years.
He tells our Washington Correspondent Alana Austin while this site looks toward the past, it also sheds light on a brighter future.
Alana Austin: "This Memorial for Peace and Justice is opening up this week in Alabama. What does it mean to people in your state?"
Sen. Doug Jones (D/AL):
"Well I think it's going to be a remarkable attraction for folks in Alabama, that will attract people from all over the country...We have to remember our past. We have to remember the mistakes that were made in order that we don't make them in the future. This really highlights a lot of the mistakes and I think the fact that we are not hiding from those, and the fact that we can put those on display and remember those victims and celebrate those victims as an era gone by means that we can move forward."
"What do you think lawmakers can be doing more of on these issues?"
"Well I think lawmakers can be always conscious - no matter what bill that they're introducing, no matter what piece of legislation they're introducing, no matter what speech that they are making - they need to understand and be thinking about how this affects the state of Alabama and the people. You don't want to just pander to a segment of the population. You want to make sure all the citizens are treated fairly and equally."
"So I think being in that proximity constantly should remind people of where we've been and - but who we are and that's the image that we want to project and I think if more lawmakers can grasp that and get that and get that into their heads, we would progress so far as a state. I think we're getting there, but we've still got a ways to go."
The non-profit organization - the Equal Justice Initiative - is behind the memorial in Montgomery.