Project Pilgrimage attends opening of EJI’s Legacy Museum

In April, Project Pilgrimage took a group of 15 people to the grand opening of Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. The three day summit was an important and moving look into the stark and traumatic history of lynching in America.

The Equal Justice Initiative has been one place we visit on every civil rights pilgrimage. For anyone who has been there, it’s not hard to tell why. The power of the work the organization does, reflected in the many deeply moving photographs dispersed throughout the building and the wall of soils recognizing and honoring the victims of some of the most heinous crimes in our nation’s history, this is something we try to share with every participant of the civil rights pilgrimage. EJI has always been a place of profound work which culminated into a project unlike any other ever undertaken in the United States, the Peace and Justice Memorial.

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Approximately one hundred people gathered on Monday at Martin Luther King Memorial Park to celebrate the 54th anniversary of Dr. King’s infamous “I Have a Dream” speech. It was a hot afternoon and despite the unnecessary gaggle of SPD officers lingering in the parking lot across the hillside, everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

The event was opened with a welcome and prayer from local minister and civil rights leader Rev. Samuel B. McKinney. “Take somebody by the hand,” he said as he led the group to repeat together, “You cant get anywhere without me. And I’m not going anywhere without you. But together, we will, make a difference.” McKinney was a friend and classmate of Dr. King and was behind Dr. King’s only visit to Seattle in 1961.

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“It’s not something you read that causes you to change … It’s when you see other individuals fight against the system; believing that justice will come, even if you have to lose your life.”

Dr. Bernard Lafayette

The severity of the violence that took place in Charlottesville, VA has made it a very difficult thing to write about. There has been a need for processing that began with simply getting over the shock that something like that could still happen in our country. The display of hatred and violence that we have all seen was one that represents the reality of racism and discrimination that has existed in our country since its foundation, and one that many of us thought we’d moved past.

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