Thursday, September 26, 2013

Students from Tangipahoa Parish Commemorate the 50th Anniversary March on Washington

Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.
Filled with excitement six youth ambassadors from Amite, Louisiana boarded a bus for the long 18 hour trip to Washington, D.C., They came aboard with their iPads, notebooks, and pens to learn all they could about the civil rights movement. Katelyn Jones quotes in the Shreveport Times " It's like being a part of my history, "said Jones, 9, a fourth grader at Amite Elementary Magnet School. "I learned that we need to keep hope alive and keep fighting."

La'Daesha Lee, Madison Hill, Imani Blossom, Aurie Gordon and the youngest ambassador Jo'Elle  LaCoste had a first hand lesson at marching for justice. They proudly carried their signs to stand for change in their communities. Bobby J. Ginn and Glyniss Vernon Gordon help prepared the ambassadors for the trip to Washington. Bobby helped the youth to write and prepare for their speeches. Antoinette Harrell taught the youth about the importance of their civil and human rights. They listened to civil rights songs and learned the meaning of the songs followed by a discussion and dialog.

On the bus the girls listened to Dr. King speeches and discussed how the message in the speeches affect them today. They went to Washington D.C., to bring awareness to poverty in their parish. Once at the Lincoln Memorial the girls heard President Obama, Martin Luther King,III.,  Julian Bond, Oprah Winfrey and others who spoke about the fight for civil and human rights.

They met Julian Bond, an American social activist and leader in the American civil rights movement, politician, professor, and writer. Julian Bond was only 23 years old in 1963 when the March on Washington took place. He has been called the patriarch of the civil right movement. At the age of 73 years old and fifty years later he once again stood on Lincoln Memorial.

They also met Marc Morial an American political and civic leader and current president of the National Urban League. The students were advocating for funding for a community center in their town. Over 14 million students leave school every afternoon and have no place to go for enrichment educational programs. According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center(NYVPRC), nine out of ten Americans think all youth should have access to after-school programs, but two-thirds of parents say they have trouble finding programs locally. The bad news is that the situation may be getting worse.
Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League

The youth expressed a vital need for such a center in their rural town. Every child should have access to educational enrichment program to learn new skills. Some of the programs that can be implemented in the resource center are mentoring, technology, reading, art, drama and reading programs.

Many people and news reporters took photographs of the youth with their signs.The youth were interviewed by BET National News and Shreveport Times. This was truly a life changing experience for the youth and one they will never forget. After the youth returned back to the bus they started reflecting upon their experience.

Roland Martin,  American Journalist
They are also met Roland Martin and American journalist and syndicated columnist with Creator Syndicate and author. He is a commentator for TV One and the host of Washington Watch with Roland Martin, a one hour Sunday morning news show on the network. Source: Wikipedia

I have made arrangement with the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans, La to have my granddaughter's memorabilia preserved in the Antoinette Harrell Collection. We would like to thank House on the Rock, Jo-Ann Frazier, Pastor and Mrs. Buchanan, Bobby J. Ginn, Walter C. Black, Sr.,  the photographer and all the people who help to make it possible for the youth to attend the 50th Anniversary March on Washington. Yes, fifty years from now they can say I was there!
La'Daesha Lee interview with BET National