The Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE) Program and Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDDIC) were delighted to have co-sponsored the opportunity for youth and community leaders to visit the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in the birthplace of Civil Rights (Montgomery, AL).
Since 2016, COPE has been part of a national network of community activists across the United States sponsored by MEDICC's Community Partnerships for Health Equity (CPHE). In order to strengthen the CPHE network and to empower the youth at CPHE sites around the United States, COPE and MEDICC worked together to organize a youth leadership workshop and CPHE strategic planning session in Montgomery, AL. Many other CPHE sites were involved such as community members from Milwaukee, South Bronx, and Albuquerque and also six representatives of Navajo Nation who attended – including health care professionals, a traditional healer, two youth leaders, and a teacher.
Visiting a memorial dedicated to legacy of slavery, people terrorized by lynching, racial segregation and police violence is life-changing and reminds us of resilience. Together with our partner communities, we reflected on the importance of acknowledging the legacy of oppression and racism in the U.S. and celebrating local champions who have fought for equity.
“Attending the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice made me reflect upon America’s history of racial inequality and how ignorance of difficult histories can make us susceptible to misunderstanding the present. I’m thankful for this experience as it helped clarify how the history of lynching in America can help us to understand and respond to the present-day issues of racial justice.” – Tierra Edison, COPE