During Passover of 2013, 38 teenagers from Evanston's Beth Emet Synagogue and Second Baptist Church spent their spring break on a six-day bus journey through the southern United States. We called this trip "Sankofa," a West African word that means 'go back and get it,' and that embodies the idea that one must look to our past so we can understand our present and build our future. The trip went far beyond a historical tour: it was an experience in building relationships and taking ownership and responsibility for helping to end racial injustice.
Through five cities-Atlanta, Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham, and Memphis-Sankofa teens, African-American, Christian, white and Jewish, focused on each other. Each student was paired with a teen from the other congregation, and our interfaith, interracial group crossed geographical and personal boundaries as they sought to understand one another and their histories and experiences.
Read more about the Sankofa experience:
Sankofa Collective Memoir (with a focus on the Lorraine Motel) written by a group of teens who particpated on the trip.
Recap of events from Sunday May 5 & 26, 2013 by Rabbi Andrea London
Sankofa Trip in the JUF News
Sankofa Through the Words of our Youth: A dramatic collection of reflections on visiting the Loraine Motel where Dr. King was shot. Presented at Sahbbat services on Friday, June 14, 2013.
Sankofa Adult Allies: Reflections on the Trayvon Martin Trial