(WYTV) – A nonprofit organization in the Valley is helping students learn about the Civil Rights Movement and how to take action against racism.
Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past has been around for 15 years, teaching students leadership skills and the history of the Civil Rights Movement.
“Our goal is action. It’s not just talk, it’s changing people’s attitudes and minds. It’s educating people, it’s telling people to read and find out what’s going on and then you take action,” said Penny Wells, executive director of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.
These students are recruited in high school by Wells. Throughout the year, the group raises money to take trips to civil rights sites in the southern states.
“They meet people who have changed the Civil Rights Movement, but all along the way they are challenged. How did these people affect you on what they did? What are you going to do when you get back home?” Wells said.
“When we come back, we actually have an action plan and we’ve just been going to different protests, rallies, organizations and groups,” said Lakeila Houser.
This summer, the group has been meeting once a week at the Youngstown Early College. They’ve worked on an action plan called “Anti-Racism” and use it to educate others.
“Getting them to understand white privilege, racial bias and coming up with words to stop that,” said Ke’Lynn Dean.
The organization teaches students presentation skills and how to stand up for what they believe in.
For more information, visit Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past’s website.