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James Lawson Institute hosts workshop series in Philadelphia, MS

Historic Mt. Zion United Methodist Church
Updated: Jun. 19, 2021 at 8:48 PM CDT
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PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (WTOK) - The James Lawson Institute visited Philadelphia, Mississippi for the first time, to hold workshops at the Historic Mt. Zion United Methodist Church on June 19th.

The James Lawson Institute, Miami University, and Southern University Law Center hosted a series of workshops titled “Where do we go from here: Chaos or community?”

The theme was, “Nonviolently Transforming Our Times, Our Work, and Our Environment.”

“We have to learn to talk about the problem in such a way that lots and lots of people want to get involved so we spend a full day jam-packed on both the philosophy of nonviolent action and the practice of nonviolent action because this is not taught in our schools. We have a deficit of knowledge on this so were convening a group of people in Mississippi to talk and think about how there can be more justice in Mississippi for everyone, " said James Lawson Institute Director, Dr. Mary King.

The workshop is a newly added feature this year, in conjunction with the church’s annual memorial service for Civil Rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman & Michael Schwerner.

“After some people here had been meeting on a business meeting, when they finished, they were mobbed right outside the steps of the church. Later that night those same people came back and burned down our church totally. That was on June 16th. Well, these young men came and who had set up a freedom summer school here, came back to investigate the burning and to check on the people who had been injured really really bad. Their lives were taken on that night which was June 21st, 1964,” said Mt. Zion UMC Pastor, Rev. Michelle Dailey.

The workshop included 9 speakers from California, Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee.

“It’s where you get the learning and the training and then the ideas of how to move forward and to take the information and then put it into action, put the feet on the floor,” said Dailey.

“I love coming today. Listen in on different things because I have a lot of pictures on my wall of what happened years ago, and I love stuff like that. So, it’s very important for young people to learn this,” said Philadelphia resident, Arlena Steele Moore.

Mt. Zion said this is a wealth of knowledge they would love to provide the community with every year during this weekend.

Mt. Zion UMC will host their 57th annual memorial service for James Chaney, Andrew Goodman & Michael Schwerner on June 20th at 3:00 p.m.

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