A morning with the New Georgia Project, and a surprise
On the fourth and final day of the Civil Rights Trip, the eighth grade met with the young activists at the New Georgia Project, a non-partisan nonprofit advocating for positive change in their state.
Last year, Gordon was first school group to visit their offices.
This year, there were new faces, but also familiar ones.
In the meeting room, Gordon met with the leaders of single-issue campaigns, supporting affordable health care, student debt reform, issues faced by day care workers, voter turnout, Black mothers and more.
They also heard from those supporting the infrastructure: the volunteer coordinator, the database manager, the outreach coordinator.
For the past three days, the eighth graders had been immersed in the history of the civil rights movement, and explored how systemic inequalities of the past extend into the present day.
This morning points towards the future, with the New Georgia staff serving as living proof that young people can organize and make a better world.
It was there in the students’ questions:
How did you end up here?
What makes you proud?
How does Rhode Island get an organization like this?
What is like to transition here from the private sector? from college? from teaching?
What is it like move to Georgia from Alabama? from Detroit? from DC?
It was there in the answers, too.
They were reminded that the first step in advocacy is listening: “Find out more about what your community needs. Let them tell you.”
They were assured: “There is an advocacy space for you, no matter what your age is.”
And they had it confirmed: this work really can be as fun and rewarding as it looks. “If our mission is a better quality of life for everyone, that includes our staff. It’s important that everyone who works here likes what they do, and that they know they are helping make the world a better place.”
This spring, eighth graders will each spend four weeks working at Rhode Island non-profits, finding ways to make a positive change in a short window of time.
Then, they’ll go on to new high school communities, where they have four years to make an impact.
After that? We can expect they will be leaders, and helpers, on whatever paths they choose.
This morning’s visit was fuel that will drive these eighth graders as they find their own way in the weeks - and years - ahead.
And yes, when the eighth grade was having lunch at the CNN Center in Atlanta today, before heading to the airport, they saw CNN’s Coy Wire.
He anchors CNN10, a weekly news digest that eighth grade watches in class faithfully.
It was one final shot of adrenaline in a trip that has been full of high points.
The Providence Journal front-page story that went online this morning
Back to day three of the 2023 trip
More on the Civil Rights Trip at www.gordonschool.org/civilrights