Operation Understanding D.C. Visits Meridian

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

There are ways to learn, and then there are ways to do some serious learning. Most would agree that the best way to learn is by doing. That's exactly what a group of high school students from the Washington, D.C., metro area are doing this week.

Thirty African-American and Jewish students with Operation Understanding D.C. visited Meridian to learn about its role in the civil rights movement, especially during the 1960s.

They started in their 6-month program by learning about each group's history and culture, and then they hit the road. The journey began New York City and continued down the coast to North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

"It's one thing to learn your own history, but when you learn somebody else's history you have a new energy because you want to learn about somebody different than your race," said Christopher Williamson. "It really has made me think about what I want to do in life."

In Meridian, the students met with Bill Ready, Jr., to talk about what it was like to grow up the son of a civil rights attorney in the south. He told stories of the things his father went through as he stood up for the rights of people who were being wronged.

"Often I think that maybe we're in a bubble in our own community," said Samantha Bressman. "And we need to pop that bubble and become used to a different world, the world around us, and not just what we're used to. It's good to be uncomfortable sometimes."

The group will continue its tour to Jackson and then finish in Memphis before returning home, to take what they've learned into the neighborhoods of their communities.

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