Come Walk With MeDate: October 2nd-6th, 2024 Location: Various locations in Alabama Contact: Rev. Holly Herring - firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Justice and Racial Equity Pilgrimage to Alabama
By Sunshine Pegues
As we remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month and his peaceful, faith-driven focus for uplifting the country, I cannot help but reflect on my upbringing in Seattle. While Seattle is far from the South, it played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement. I was a youth there in the early 1960s and like most of America at that time, white supremacy was accepted and widely socialized. Segregation was overtly and subtly enforced through discriminatory practices which were codified in law and governing policies.
Seattle, like other metropolitan cities, controlled jobs with questionable hiring policies, segregated school districts, and denied access to neighborhoods by redlining housing districts, intimidation, and denial of mortgage loans to minority and marginalized groups, among many other deplorable tactics.
However, in August 1963, on the same day as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the infamous March on Washington, 1000 demonstrators marched to the Federal Courthouse in Seattle to stand in solidarity. Also, on that day, Seattle Public Schools proactively embraced social change to become the first major school system to initiate a voluntary desegregation plan.
As a result of this historic act, I participated in Seattle’s school integration efforts through bussing. I intentionally left the comfort and security of my neighborhood and became a “token” at my new school. I was scared (just like the Little Rock Nine) but I was determined to make the most of the opportunity.
Unfortunately, I had numerous encounters where both teachers and students told me I was the first “Negro” they had seen live (meaning in person and not on TV) – Wow! was all I could think. I was in constant turmoil because I did not want to lose my identity or abandon my friends, but I knew the education I was receiving at these college-prep schools would be empowering and allow me to focus on living the “Dream” that Dr. King spoke about so eloquently but yet had eluded so many for too long. Equipped with knowledge, I protested peacefully for civil rights in the community and, later in high school, focused on education equality. I wanted to do it for others since I was a recipient of the efforts of the marchers in 1963.
We have all seen the movies or historical representations of the events from those days. Even though Seattle had the Black Panthers and other groups that worked toward social justice and equal rights, I still felt disconnected from the plight of those in the South. I was too young to travel to the South during that time but all my adult life I wanted to walk the journey of those brave souls. So, I invite you to Come Walk with Me and trace their footsteps to experience:
- Birmingham, which has sites of violence but also has sites of healing through visiting the Civil Rights Institute.
- Montgomery, the Home of leaders and martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement.
- Selma, often called “Ground Zero in the Fight for Voting Rights” will offer the opportunity to walk across Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Will Rev. Michael Curry’s book, “LOVE IS THE WAY, Holding on to Hope in Trouble Times,” speak through this pilgrimage?
Love, Faith, and Hope can and will uplift us all.
Learn more about the Pilgrimage by clicking on the link below
You can also scan the QR Code Below: