Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) has announced he will attend the 13th Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage slated to take place this weekend, March 1st-3rd, 2013. Schock will join with dozens of colleagues from the House and Senate for a bipartisan trip to visit historically significant sites in Alabama, including Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma. The pilgrimage has been called a "3-day passage through living history."
"This is a special opportunity for me to experience pivotal moments in our nation's history with some of the very individuals who were there. So much about understanding our history has to do with visiting the places where history was made and seeing it through the eyes of the people who lived it," said Congressman Aaron Schock. "I look forward to joining my colleagues, including American hero John Lewis. As someone who marched side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, his leading this delegation makes this experience all the more gratifying."
The pilgrimage will be led by Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a renowned civil rights activist, who led the march 50 years ago. "I am very proud to welcome Aaron, my colleague on the Ways and Means committee, to Alabama as a participant in this weekend's pilgrimage," said Congressman John Lewis. "The purpose of this journey is for members of Congress to come to understand the price that was paid just a few decades ago for the right to vote and greater respect for human dignity in this country. To me, it is like walking on sacred ground where blood was shed to make this nation a more fair, more just society. Many members have told me what this trip means to them. I hope that Aaron will have the same deep and meaningful experience."
Joining Schock will be two high school students from the 18th district. The students were invited by Congressman Schock to attend the three day trip as his guests to witness firsthand the historic anniversary events. They are Lydia Amissah, a 12th grade student from Richwoods High School and Onsi Aaron Kamel, a 12th grade student from Springfield High School. Lydia Amissah is a first generation American citizen whose parents are originally from Ghana. She has been inducted to the National Honor Society and is involved with numerous student organizations such as the Gospel Choir, Student Council and Key Club. Onsi is the student representative on the SSD 186 school board, captain of the Springfield High School Speech team as well as vice president of the Honors Choir.
"This is a unique opportunity to take historical events and lift them from the chapters of their history books and learn about these significant events in a real world setting. My hope is that all three of us come back from this trip with a deeper sense of appreciation of U.S. history and the events that have shaped who we are as a nation," added Schock.
This year marks the 50th Anniversaries of the Desegregation of the University of Alabama, the Birmingham Children's Crusade, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, and Letter from Birmingham Jail, four pivotal events of the civil rights movement. The Pilgrimage will commemorate these anniversaries with its 13th march across Edmund Pettus Bridge. Among the many guests and dignitaries attending will be Vice President Joe Biden.