On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, calling on U.S. citizens to “eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in America.” The act became the most sweeping civil rights legislation of the century. 

by James Woody
Sutton Scholars Executive Director

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, our Sutton Scholars participated in a virtual day of service, which included:

A screening of the Spike Lee film, 4 Little Girls, which documented the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL on September 15, 1963. During this tragic event, four African American girls were killed as they innocently attended Sunday School. The film highlighted the key role young people played in the Civil Rights movement. The discussion that followed the film gave the Scholars the opportunity to process the event and to consider its impact on race relations today and how they might have reacted if they had been alive at the time of the awful tragedy.

Diocese of Maryland Youth! Missioner Kate Riley joined the event as a volunteer. “It was powerful to see mentors and youth talk about such heart-breaking matters. Mentors of various ages offered amazing insight and wisdom. The Scholars were invested and had great hope for the future.”

The Rev. Kathy Shahinian and the Rev. Linda Boyd (from our Maryland Episcopal Public Policy Network) facilitated a conversation with the Scholars about the power of youth advocacy. We viewed the recorded Zoom testimony of a middle schooler who addressed the Maryland General Assembly on legislation aimed at mandating a more thorough exploration of African American history in Maryland schools. This student, and another young person spoke with our Scholars about developing a passion and how to turn that passion into action.

We are excited about our ongoing work together throughout the year and looking forward to the time in our summer program our Scholars will spend with us.