Congresswoman Barbara Lee & Local Youth Leaders Travel to Montgomery, AL for Nonviolence Summit

OAKLAND, CA – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) will join East Bay youth leaders from the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center on Saturday, July 31 to attend a nonviolence summit in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Nine youth delegates from the Freedom Center, as well as 50 young people from Alabama, are attending the “Nonviolence in the 21st Century” summit this week to learn about the work of Dr. King, develop leadership skills, and meet with elected officials, activists and organizers. 

“I am so proud of the young people from the East Bay who are making this journey to be part of the next generation of civil rights leaders,” Congresswoman Lee said. “They are carrying on the legacy of my friend Congressman John Lewis, who inspired so many young people to take the baton and continue the race for justice and equality. John’s spirit is with us as we engage in conversations about dismantling systemic racism, addressing poverty, and protecting our sacred right to vote. I am honored to partner again with the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center to provide an opportunity for these students to learn about the legacy of Dr. King and how to fight for justice through nonviolence.” 

For the past 16 years, local students from the MLK Freedom Center have joined Congresswoman Lee on annual visits to Alabama as delegates on Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimages with members of Congress from across the nation. Congressman Lewis, a leader and survivor of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama, led the Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimages to give members of Congress and other attendees a chance to learn about the civil rights struggle with the goal of calling forth courage, conscience and compassion. 

The Congressional Pilgrimages take place every year during the first weekend in March. The trip to this week’s summit is not part of a Congressional Pilgrimage, and is the first time that students from the Freedom Center have travelled to Alabama in the summer. 

The California youth delegation and a cohort of young leaders from Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s district have spent a week together studying nonviolence, the history of the civil rights movement and tools to become more effective leaders. They also have met with civil rights icons, elected officials, and leaders of community, faith-based and labor organizations to learn first-hand history of the civil rights movement. 

“Our students and staff are participating in the ‘Nonviolence in the 21st Century’ week fully prepared to listen and learn,” said Dr. Roy D. Wilson, Executive Director of the MLK Freedom Center. “They will speak up and connect with others who are prepared to own the common responsibility to confront racism, poverty and violence in ways that create an interracial, pluralistic democracy where love and friendship become our basic strategy of living.”

Photos from the summit and interviews with student delegates are available upon request.