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The John Lewis Fellowship program kicked off earlier this month with 26 international students from the United States and seven European countries.

A collaboration with Humanity in Action and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the four-week program will involve fellows taking part in a litany of activities throughout Georgia and Alabama, including film screenings, tours and art exhibits. The group of 18-23-year-olds will study Atlanta’s civil rights legacy and travel to key landmarks like the Stockade in Leesburg, Ga; the Civil Rights Institute in Albany, Ga; and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Ala. They will hear from Atlanta civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), Dr. Bernice King, Civil Rights Attorney Mawuli Davis, and many others.

“The John Lewis Fellows, in the spirit of the icon after whom the program is named, will not just study the work of civil and human rights they will engaged in some of that work,” said Tanya Washington, the 2018 John Lewis Fellowship program director. Fellows will have the opportunity to meet key players in the community, who are responsible for protecting and promoting democratic principles such as equity, diversity, and inclusion. They will work with Dr. Deborah Richardson, executive director of the International Human Trafficking Institute to stem the tide of sex-trafficking, and team up with The New Georgia Project to gain hands-on experience in a voter engagement campaign.

“In each of the three years that the program has been in existence, bridging the connection between history and current realities has been important,” Washington said. “However, in light of the way that history seems to be repeating itself, it is more important than ever that the efforts of young people are informed by the lessons of past resistance, engagement and activism in advancing and protecting human and civil rights.”

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