Few of us are given an opportunity to travel the country and learn about different cultures. These 22 high schoolers from the DC Metro area are given such an opportunity to learn about African American and Jewish culture, and see places they've only read about in history. They are part of a group called Operation Understanding DC to help students learn about the Civil Rights Movement and how they can improve their communities today.
Eliana Kanefield, a senior from Washington D.C., says for her, it's been about witnessing historical places in person. "Being in some places that have been touched by history so much makes you want to go out and change the world even more. I've seen how far we've come, but that only makes me realize how much further we do have to come."
Speaking with those who lived during the Civil Rights Movement, like Bill Ready, Sr. and Roscoe Jones, shows students the importance or learning about others.
"Well, the one thing that I would love for them to take away is the fact that in life, learning, education, just to say you are an educated person is to be well-rounded, and by coming here, it will make them more well-rounded, and to take away the fact that people are people wherever you go, just get to know them," Roscoe Jones, director of Freedom 64, says.
The knowledge about other cultures gained from this trip will help the students touch the lives of those around them.
Jeffrey Billingslea, a senior from Potomac, Virginia, wants to "see how I can use that past knowledge to help my peers out today who I see sorta struggling and not trying to learn their history or not trying to learn other cultures and histories so I can educate them and educate myself, my family, everyone, everyone I can touch to see how I can improve them and the community I'm in."
Students now will take what they've learned and look to improve their own home communities...and hopefully, make a difference in the world. Students will continue on to Jackson before heading to the Delta this weekend.