WASHINGTON, May 2, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On May 4-6, 2018, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. will partner with the Children’s Defense Fund to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the historic 1963 Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama. The event will honor one of the most inspiring and courageous acts of resistance and peaceful protest by children and will draw over 2,000 youths and families from across the country to the Birmingham Civil Rights District in the city that played a pivotal role in changing the course of history.

Children's Defense Fund logo (PRNewsFoto/Children's Defense Fund)

On May 2, 1963, thousands of students left their classrooms and gathered at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham to participate in a nonviolent protest against segregation, racism, and social injustices. The next day Birmingham police, led by infamous commissioner of public safety Bull Connor, brought out fire hoses and attack dogs and turned them on the children. It was a scene that caused headlines across the nation and around the world.

The three-day anniversary event will focus on experiential learning supported by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Young people will gain a better understanding of the similarities between events then and now, embracing their power to demand and lead social change through safe, social activism, especially in today’s racially charged climate. 

Participants will listen to, learn from, and interact with courageous foot soldiers of the 1963 Children’s Crusade. Carole Robertson, one of the four girls murdered at Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church by bombs planted by White supremacists in September 1963, was a member of Jack and Jill, and this event will honor their memory during a special Power of Children Program with Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman and Yolanda Renee King.

«This Children’s Crusade is a new chance to remember, honor, and follow the example of the children who were the frontline soldiers and transforming catalysts in America’s greatest moral movement of the twentieth century – the movement for civil rights and equal justice. We owe those extraordinary children and youths a debt of responsibility and gratitude. It will also remind today’s children that they are not just citizens in waiting, but at this critical national time they have their own stake in freedom and justice and they too can be transforming agents for change. I’m so happy to see this new Children’s Crusade to end the violence of guns and poverty by nonviolent means. It’s way past time to protect children and not guns,» said Marian Wright Edelman.

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Events begins Friday, May 4. See full agenda here: http://bit.ly/childrencrusadeagenda

– Hon. Randall Woodfin, Mayor, Birmingham, Ala.
– Hon. Nyya Parson-Hudson, Judge, Birmingham, Ala. / Event Chair
Joli Cooper, National President, Jack & Jill of America
– MLK III and Granddaughter (on-site interviews during march only, May 5)

The Power of Children Program begins Saturday, May 5 at 11:30 a.m. CENTRAL STANDARD TIME 
Children’s Crusade March begins Saturday, May 5 at 2 p.m. CST

The Power of Children Program to be held at the historic 16th Street Baptist Church1530 6th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203. The program may also be viewed via livestream on CDF’s Facebook Page.

March to begin at Kelly Ingram Park (16th St N & 5th Ave N, Birmingham, Ala.)
– Right on to 2nd Ave N
– Left on to 14th St N
– Ends at Railroad Park Foundation (1600 1st Ave S, Birmingham, Ala.)

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

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SOURCE Children’s Defense Fund