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On Wednesday, Nov. 17, students and families of Lowrie Primary School came together to commemorate a historic walk to school. 

In November of 1960, Ruby Bridges, a Black elementary school student from Louisiana, stepped into an all-white school and changed history. To honor her bravery, Wilsonville elementary students walked to their school to highlight that people can make a change no matter their age.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, schools across the country took part in Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day. The day intends to show solidarity and promote civil change. While walking to school each day, Bridges, only 6 years old, encountered angry mobs spewing racist statements. But the first grader continued to attend school and her bravery ushered positive steps in the civil rights movement.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - While holding handmade signs, students marched with their classmates."I like (this event) because we can celebrate (Ruby) and show what our school did," said Kruse Collier, a third grader at Lowrie.

As the sun began to rise, about 175 elementary students and families marched a mile from Sofia Park to Lowrie Primary school, holding posters and chanting. Led by the parent-teacher association, the students walked and read speeches highlighting Bridges' bravery and the importance of standing up to bullies.

Maegen Brooks, the diversity and inclusion coordinator for the parent-teacher association, led efforts to organize the event as she thought it would promote inclusivity. PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - During the march, students held handmade posters that showed support for Bridges' courageous efforts.

"This seemed like a great way to get our community together not only to remember Ruby Bridges, but also to think about how our kids can be activists, and agents of change," she said.

The students at Lowrie have begun to learn what it means to be an advocate for one another. Brooks thought this event was a perfect recipe to educate students on racial justice.

"When we teach about race and racism for our kids, it can feel really overwhelming and depressing, quite frankly. But coupling teaching about racism with doing things that actually involve them in the change is a great way for them to not feel overwhelmed, but empowered," she said.PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Families and community members joined the students in marching.

After the march, the students participated in an author's reading of "Environmental Justice is for You and Me" by Catalina M. de Onís before returning to normal school activities.

Fifth grader Sawyer Brooks was one of the student leaders who was selected by the school to help organize the event. Sawyer said he is interested in civil rights and was happy to spread the word because this day is significant for many people and history. PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Sawyer Brooks, fifth grade, was one of the student leaders who helped organize the event.

During the march, Sawyer led the stream of community members in uplifting chants, like "Be like Ruby, unite the community."

"Today is important because if we all try hard enough, we can really change something," he said.


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