Saturday, August 02, 2014

Operation Understanding DC Class 20 - Jackson, Mississippi

Class 20 of Operation Understanding DC in Jackson, Mississippi.

On my last two days with the OUDC participants, they met with Michelle Schiffer, executive director of the Institute for Southern Jewish Life , and her staff, were personally toured through the home of assassinated Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers by one of his associates, Ms. Minnie Watson, heard about the ongoing and seminal human rights work done at Tougaloo College from Professor Daphne Chamberlain, and were led in freedom songs and story by Mr. Hollis Watkins of Southern Echo, SNCC, and COFO.

They also met with Mayor Tony Yarber and members of the City Council, attended Friday Jumu'ah prayer services at Masjid Muhammad, led by Imam Muhammad Abdur-Rahman and Maryam Rashid, and had a session with investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell of the Jackson Clarion Ledger newspaper. Mr Mitchell broke and helped re-open the cases that led to the trial and conviction of Medgar Ever's murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, and other KKK killers, decades after the slayings they committed.

"Ain't gonna let nobody turn me 'round, turn me 'round, turn me 'round, ain't gonna let nobody turn me 'round, turn me 'round, turn me 'round, gonna keep on walking. keep on' talking', marchin' up to Freedom Land."

Thanks to OUDC tour leaders, Avi Edelman, Maurice Wilkins, and Eleni Zimilies, our class act bus driver AJ of Stinson Charter Bus Company, to Aaron Jenkins, executive director of Operation Understanding DC, and to the twenty-four bright, enthusiastic future leaders who participated in the voyage. Peace, strength, and blessings to y'all.

A note: Medgar Ever's blood is still visible on the concrete in the carport of his home...

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