Press Release

February 26, 2015
Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman John Lewis Discuss Civil Rights with Baltimore Area Students

WASHINGTON –  Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.-05) discussed the state of civil rights in America with students and teachers from The Park School, Baltimore City College, City Neighbors High School and Christo Rey Jesuit High School. The Baltimore-area students recently visited places significant to the Civil Rights movement, such as Greensboro, Atlanta, Selma, Little Rock, the Mississippi Delta and Memphis.

“These Baltimore students were genuinely impressive and showed a strong understanding of the history of the Civil Rights movement in America,” said Senator Cardin. “It gave me a great deal of hope to see such a diverse group of young people with a heightened sense of or shared history and a vision for a brighter future. I know that their trip enriched them as students but also as active parts of our democracy. There are few better people, member of Congress or otherwise, than John Lewis to help inspire these young Marylanders to continue to be active in living up to the highest ideals of our founding by standing up for civil rights.”

About 40 high school students shared what they had learned in their travels and exchanged views on current state of civil rights with Rep. Lewis and Senator Cardin, who briefed the students on what the Senate can do to protect and advance the civil rights of all Americans. Additionally, Senator Cardin spoke with the group about two pieces of legislation he plans to reintroduce in the 114th Congress, The End Racial Profiling Act and the Democracy Restoration Act.

Lewis offered insights on the current state of civil rights with the unique perspective of being the only living member of the “Big Six.”

In 2004, the first group of students and faculty from The Park School of Baltimore and Baltimore City College High School traveled throughout the American South, visiting with participants in the Civil Rights Movement and touring the museums, sites and memorials that stand in witness to the movement’s foot soldiers, heroes and martyrs. Money to cover the expenses of the trip is raised each year by the students. They sold pizza and candy, raked leaves, wrote grant proposals and solicited funds from various benefactors. For the 2015 trip, the group raised more than $30,000. The students blogged about their experiences and toured the Library of Congress exhibit on the 1964 Civil Rights Act after meeting with Cardin and Lewis.