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Metro Detroit Students Invited to Apply to Take Part in Freedom Tour

The trip, sponsored by the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, will take students on a trip to see the history of civil rights in the U.S.

This summer a group of Michigan students will be learning an important part of U.S. history at close range as they explore the sites and stories of the 1961 Freedom Rides and other seminal events in this country’s civil rights movement.

Thirty Detroit area high school students will participate in leadership development during an historic, two-week group bus tour covering many of the same sites where the original Freedom Riders worked for justice over five decades ago.

Freedom Tour 2013 will visit a number of cities in the South, including Atlanta, GA.,  Montgomery and Selma in AL. and Meridian, MS. The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights is sponsoring and organizing the trip. The group has hosted students on similar educational tours over the past 25 years.

The students will visit the King Center (www.thekingcenter.org), Southern Poverty Law Center (www.splcenter.org), Koinonia Farm (www.koinoniapartners.org), Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge, where they’ll learn more about the remarkable journey of the original Freedom Riders and other groundbreaking civil rights activists of the early 1960s. The Freedom Riders and their contemporaries challenged racial segregation practices which existed throughout the Deep South. Their non-violent protests focused the nation’s attention and bolstered credibility and support for the American civil rights movement.

“Going on the Freedom Tour in 1991 opened my eyes and changed my perspective on the civil rights movement. It helped me understand what it was really like for the original Freedom Riders and the other activists,” said Juan Farris.

Farris currently attends Baker College and plans to enter law school in 2014. He was a student at Old Redford High School when he participated in MCHR’s first Freedom Tour in 1991.

“I’ m sure this experience will be enlightening and transformative for these students, just as it was for me 22 years ago,” said Farris, who will be involved with this year’s Freedom Tour participants as they prepare for the trip.

Michigan Coalition for Human Rights Now Accepting Applications and Raising Funds for Freedom Tour

 “We’re very excited about providing these young people with an extraordinary opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the civil rights pioneers, learn their history, study non-violence -- and then bring it all home to help build understanding and social justice in their own lives and communities,” said Lydia Wylie-Kellerman, Project Director of the trip for Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.

The cost for Freedom Tour 2013 is approximately $1500 per student, which is being raised by the participants, sponsors and the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. 

Applications from Detroit-area high school students will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with preference for those received by Jan. 31.

Sponsorships are also available for corporations, organizations, churches and individuals who wish to support a participant or the entire group.

For a student application and/or additional information on Freedom Tour 2013 and sponsorships, call 313-923-7332, or email freedomtourmchr@gmail.com.

This article was provided by the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.

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