Help a Youth to Get on the Bus

I'm taking a bus load of folks from Marion, Indiana to Washington, DC to participate in the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington: Realizing the Dream March, taking place on Saturday August 24, 2013.

Marion, Indiana is the site of one of the last recorded public lynchings in the United States in 1930. Several of the descendants of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, the victims of the lynching, as well as those unnamed members of the crowd of lynchers, still live, work and attend school in Marion, IN. The physical site of the tragic event remains an important part of downtown city life here in Marion. Although the lynching and the racial climate that made it possible are rarely ever discussed in public, the realities of the climate then continue to loom in 2013; and the history is still very much part of the present in the minds of youth, young adults and seniors alike. The youth of Marion need to see a different world than Marion.

I believe this trip is one step in the right direction of providing a different lens through which to view the progress we have made as a country. This march is not just to commemorate what happened in August of 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his prolific "I Have a Dream" speech; this march is to reawaken the activist spirit in the minds of youth and young adults who must learn how to engage the world they are inheriting. We will march this time to shed light on the need to repeal laws like "Stand Your Ground." We will march this time to stand in solidarity with those whose voting rights are in jeopardy. We will march this time to stand united as one nation, under God, indivisible by color, creed, sexual orientation, economic or educational pedigree.

I have received inquiries of young people (school aged, high performing youth in grades 4-12) who have an interest in attending this trip, however their families cannot afford to send them. I do not want to turn a young person away because they cannot afford to pay.

The cost of the bus, the driver, the hotel accommodations, fuel, and tolls averages out to about $200 per person. No one is making a profit off this trip! If we reach our goal of $3,000, we can take fifteen youth free of charge! If everyone in my Facebook network donated as little as one dollar this goal would be met immediately! (Any funds raised above the goal will be used to offset the cost of meals while the youth are in Washington, DC.)

Perhaps you do not live in Marion, IN, but you know what it's like to grow up in a small town like our beloved Marion. Perhaps you have a young person near and dear to your heart and you can relate to the importance of providing opportunities like this. Whatever your lot, are you able to sow a seed to help make getting on the bus possible?
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Shonda Nicole Gladden 
Marion, IN
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