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PEARL, Miss.— An interracial group of young men will be taking part in a journey of reconciliation to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Their 50-mile March to Memphis will take them from Dundee, Miss., to the city where Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968, to join in commemorative events there.
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Organized by The PEARSON Foundation, a faith-based mentoring and community service organization based in Pearl, Miss., the trek aims to teach participants more about civil rights and justice issues, and model reconciliation and healthy racial relations.
“Our hope is to not only honor all that Dr. King achieved, but to be part of continuing his work,” said PEARSON Foundation President Jarvis Ward. “We want to show how racial justice, economic justice and racial reconciliation can be advanced in and by the next generation.”
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Setting out March 31, along the way the young men will discuss issues as they walk and also take part in evening community meetings in places where they stay overnight at schools or churches.
Aged 14 through 19, the teen group will comprise members of PEARSON programs and peers from local schools. They will be accompanied by adult mentors with PEARSON, which stands for People Employing Available Resources to Strengthen Our Neighborhoods.
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President of the foundation since 2014, Ward has long been involved in racial reconciliation initiatives. The first Executive Director of Mission Mississippi, he was also founder of the National City Impact Roundtable, and served as National Facilitator of City/Community Ministries for Mission America for 16 years.
A native Memphian, Ward remembers hearing of Dr. King’s death on the car radio while riding with his parents, as a boy. “I knew something was seriously wrong by their emotional reaction,” he recalls. “But as a four-year-old, I did not fully comprehend...
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