Summer Journey Blog!

Governor William Winter

image

“Racial reconciliation cannot be solved in a vacuum. It must be accompanied by improvements in one’s quality of life.”

Former Mississippi Governor William Winter shares strategies for creating meaningful reform with #OUDC22.

Home of Medgar Evers

image

It can be easy to be consumed by sadness and pessimism as we bear witness to places where lives were taken in the struggle for freedom. As we sang with Reena Evers in the carport of her childhood home, though, we were not just honoring the spot where her father, Medgar, was murdered, but honoring a life lived with great purpose. “My father has never left me,” Reena Evers told us. He won’t leave us either; we will stand on his shoulders as we journey onward.

Check out video of us by visiting our social media!

Institute for Southern Jewish Life

image

Class 22 shared fellowship with students from Operation Understanding Philadelphia, URJ Mitzvah Corps, and staff from the Institute for Southern Jewish Life. The institute works to support Jewish communities throughout the South, from thriving congregations in Atlanta to diminishing synagogues in Selma.

James Meredith

image

James Meredith, who integrated the University of Mississippi in 1962 with the help of federal marshals, and whose One Man March Against Fear in 1966 couldn’t be thwarted by an attempted assassination, tells #OUDC22 how he “kicked Mississippi’s butt.”

James Chaney Gravesite

image

We stood at the gravesite of James Chaney, holding hands with Roscoe Jones, who still bears the guilt of having been originally scheduled to be in the car with James, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. We carried with us the spirit of Julia Chaney Moss, who shared with us in New York her quest to find forgiveness in the wake of her brother’s death. We shared prayers of mourning from three religions, sang “Oh Freedom,” and read a letter one of our students wrote to James. And, most importantly, we promised him that we would channel his courage and continue his quest for justice.

Edmund Pettus Bridge

image

“You are the dream. The blood of history-makers runs in your veins. We got you this far. Now how far can you take us?”

-Joanne Bland, one of the youngest participants in the Selma marches

Making waves

image

The students of #OUDC22 are quickly becoming ambassadors of change. And the media is taking notice! In almost every city we visit, members of the press are telling the story of these two dozen leaders.

Selma, Meridian

image

Class 22 speaks with Ronnie Lee and Hanna Berger at Temple Mishkan Israel. They are two of the seven remaining Jews in Selma, and are working to preserve the synagogue and the story of Selma’s once-thriving Jewish community.

image

Stephen Smitherman, whose father was the mayor of Selma in 1965, shares his perspective on the legacy of race relations in Selma.

image

Roscoe Jones, a student organizer from Meridian, was supposed to be the fourth person in the car with Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman. He spoke to Class 22 about the often untold history of high school students in the movement.

image

Class 22 visited the Jackson home, the Selma Campaign headquarters where Dr. King, Rabbi Heschel, and other movement leaders stayed to plot movement strategy.

image

“The rock in your hand is where John Lewis stood on his way to march. The blood of history-makers runs through your veins.” Selma march participant Joanne Bland takes Class 22 through the footsteps of history.

image

Attorney Bill Ready and his son, George Ready, shares the dangers of living in Meridian as a Catholic civil rights lawyer during the 1960s.