March 17, 2016
Bipartisan Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to South Carolina March 18-20
Explores Legacy of Civil Rights & Impact of Charleston Shooting on State & Nation
WASHINGTON – The Faith and Politics Institute’s 2016 Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to South Carolina will take place from March 18-20 making stops in Columbia, Orangeburg and Charleston. A bipartisan delegation of 14 members of Congress, including leaders from both political parties, will be led by U.S. House of Representatives Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (D-SC), U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and civil rights movement icon U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA).
The pilgrimage will explore the unique role of faith and the civil rights history of South Carolina. The delegation will also discuss the impact of the 2015 shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church on the community, South Carolina and nation. Local leaders in Columbia, Orangeburg and Charleston, survivors of the tragic shooting and family members of the victims will participate in the pilgrimage, which culminates in a Palm Sunday worship service at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Media briefings will be held each day. Events are otherwise closed to press and public. For security purposes, media should arrive early to receive credentials. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. In case of rain, alternate locations will be utilized.
The spirit of forgiveness and grace exhibited by family members of those killed at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church June 17, 2015 temporarily transformed the political dynamics surrounding race, history, and historical memory in South Carolina and across the nation.
How can appreciation of such grace lead to sufficient political will for an equally transformative and sustained public response expanding racial healing and reconciliation in America today? The Faith & Politics Institute’s 2016 Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage comes to Charleston seeking a hopeful and encouraging answer to that question.
In the wake of the massacre, the faith and courage demonstrated by the survivors, members of the victims’ families and the Mother Emanuel AME church allowed the nation to witness the power of love and forgiveness, which holds open the door to increased understanding and reconciliation.
On this special journey, many who led the civil rights movement and lived its history will lead efforts to support effective government by bringing members of Congress together in a spirit of openness, honesty and reconciliation across lines of race, religion and political affiliations for the purpose of working together in service to our nation and the world.
A bipartisan congressional delegation of fourteen members will also listen to the stories of civil rights luminaries, religious leaders and historians. Participants will also learn about South Carolina civil rights pioneers such as Septima Clark and about the 400-year old Gullah Geechee cultural heritage. The delegation is scheduled to visit such historic sites as Zion and Brookland Baptist Churches and that of the Orangeburg massacre where three students were killed on February 8, 1968 while demonstrating against segregation.
Since 1998, The Faith and Politics Institute has led annual bipartisan Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimages to five southern states affording hundreds of members of the U.S. House and Senate an experiential journey through the American civil rights movement as well as international trips. Described by some members as one of the most valuable experiences of their time in Congress, the bipartisan pilgrimages offer opportunities for engaged and reflective dialogue that transcends politics.