Teens trace steps of Civil Rights pioneers

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's a trip back in time for a group of teenagers visiting Montgomery from Washington D.C.

They're part of a group called "Operation: Understanding D.C.", a program meant to bridge racial, religious and cultural division by leading youth on a three week summer journey through America's past social injustices.

There are 30 teens in the program, 14 black and 16 jewish students. Founders of the group say because of their background, the kids share a common bond and a common history.

They're here in the capital city tracing the steps of the Civil Rights pioneers that came before them. One student, Jeremy Halpern, says the trip really opened his eyes. He says it's a great opportunity to learn about history, not from textbooks, but experience it themselves.

Anotehr student, Monique McCants, says, "It's really incredible. This is really where the March happened."

And the Program Director, Aaron Jenkins, says the students are not only immersed in the history, but they make the struggles their own. He says that the students are not the same when they leave the program because of all they have learned and experienced.

But above all, students say it's forever changed their perspective. Jeremy Halpern says, "It's not just something of the past that we learn about, it's something that is still going on and we're the ones that have to move it forward."

These teens are continuing a legacy and forging their own paths for the future of America.

The next stop on the trip is Selma.

After the teens return home, they'll put on workshops throughout their community sharing what they learned on the trip.

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