'Operation Understanding DC' tours Montgomery, takes stand against racism

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - More than 20 young people from the Washington, DC area are in Montgomery taking a stand and hoping to keep the dialogue open about prejudice
and racism. It's called Operation Understanding DC.

Since 1995, its mission has been to build a generation of African American and Jewish community leaders who promote respect, understanding and cooperation.

"We spend a year exploring one another's heritages, cultures, identities, thinking about the lenses through which we view the world, the lenses through which the world views us," said Avi Edelman, one of the group's leaders.

This month, the group will visit nine states, following the trail of the freedom riders. This week, they'll be visiting some of Alabama's most significant sites in the civil rights movement, like the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Rosa Parks Museum, SPLC and the Freedom Rides Museum.

"Being able to continue to walk the footsteps, literally, of the people who were before me inside of the textbooks, and continuing that fight for justice and peace that we all have had the same vision of having has truly been a blessing," said student Roysworth grant.

In the months following the journey, the students will take an active role sharing the ideas and lessons they learned in their own communities.

"This fall we'll go out into our communities and lead community dialogues and give speeches at houses of worship and school and various organizations in order to create the change we need to see in our communities.," student Melanie Ezrin said.

"We really believe that through the summer experience, if we can touch the face of history and walk the path of history, then our student can be the people who shape where that history goes next," said Edelman.

You can follow along Operation Understanding DC's journey online here.

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