FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2016
Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to South Carolina March 18-20
Delegation to Explore Civil Rights History in Journey Toward Reconciliation with Stops in Columbia, Orangeburg and Charleston
WASHINGTON – The Faith and Politics Institute will lead a bipartisan Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to South Carolina on March 18-20, 2016. A delegation of up to three dozen members of Congress will take part in a journey that explores the unique role of faith and the civil rights history of South Carolina. The pilgrimage will make stops in Columbia, Orangeburg and Charleston and listen to the stories of civil rights luminaries, religious leaders and historians.
U.S. House of Representatives Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) along with Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and civil rights movement icon U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) will co-host the pilgrimage the weekend of March 18-20, 2016. Participants will 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. Participants will also discuss the impact of the 2015 Charleston killing, and the reactions of the victims’ family members on the community, South Carolina and nation. The pilgrimage culminates in a Sunday worship service at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
The murders of nine people of faith at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston is a cornerstone of the pilgrimage that will connect participants to the ongoing conversation of racial healing and reconciliation in America today. 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 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. The leaders of the pilgrimage will hold media briefings during the course of the weekend.
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.