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Levine Museum of the New South Leads "A Ride for Understanding"


July 15, 2013 — At 9am this morning, 15 high school students arrived at Levine Museum of the New South ready to embark on a road trip. Over the next 4 days, these students, along with the museum's education staff, will travel across the southeast on "A Ride for Understanding," exploring the parallels between the Civil Rights Movement and issues that require activism today´┐Żincluding human, gender, LGBTQ, and immigrant rights.

At the height of the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, young activists crowded the streets in protests across the country and took a brave stand for equal rights. These young people were asked to "get on the bus" with a dime and a toothbrush and travel to demonstrations that forever changed our nation.

The need for a toothbrush is obvious, but why a dime? The dime would cover a call home from the police station after a night in jail. Can you imagine being a teenager or young adult and being asked to join thousands of other young activists fighting for equal treatment, rights we take for granted today? To get on a bus to an unknown town? To risk your safety? To be arrested and spend a night in jail?

This afternoon, a diverse group of high school students from Charlotte, NC, got on the bus to learn about the activism of young people half a century ago, and to consider what issues would motivate them to take a stand today. Student participants will use social media and blogging to share their experience with those back home and around the world, engaging in discussions about how historic struggles and strategies resonate with today's social issues such as human, gender, LGBTQ, and immigrant rights. A Ride for Understanding from Charlotte to Atlanta to Birmingham, a 3-city, 4-day bus tour, will explore how ideas for justice travel far. Stops include the Atlanta History Center, the King Center, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, as well as the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma and he Rosa Parks Museum and Library in Montgomery. Students will also have the chance to hear from Latino community leaders and organizations in Charlotte, Atlanta and Birmingham.s.

With a deeper understanding of the struggles of 1963 and inspired by the courage of young activists then, students will grapple with issues that matter to them personally, issues they face in their own lives living in our multicultural communities today.

Social Media Documentation: Using the museum's social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), students will document and spread the word about their tour experiences. Students will be actively posting to social media, blogging and digitally documenting their travels and ideas about social issues. A final multimedia presentation will be created that will showcase the tour and connections. This presentation will be shown at museum functions, posted to the web, and linked through the museum's sites.

Ambassador Program: As a follow up of the tour, Levine Museum will continue to engage participating youth by having them serve as media mentors to other students as well as act as workshop and digital session leaders and facilitators for future museum youth programming.

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