Civil Rides is a 3-day trek from the steps of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN, to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, MS, that follows in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to raise awareness around persistent rural poverty in America and advocate for racial justice and healing.
Wednesday, April 4 (the 50th anniversary of the assassination Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) to Friday, April 6.
On April 4, 1968, the struggle for civil rights suffered a great loss with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since his death a great deal has changed in America, but the struggle for equality and equity remains a challenge. In essence, Dr. King’s dream has yet to come to fruition. The ongoing inequality and the struggle to keep the dream alive is why this ride, Civil Rides, exists.
Poverty is a modern-day civil rights issue. Together for Hope works to alleviate poverty through asset-based community development which strengthens the community from within, providing a true path out of poverty. In this work, Together for Hope has four priorities: Education, Health & Nutrition, Housing & Environment, and Social Enterprise. We have partner organizations from Arizona to Appalachia and from the Dakotas to the Delta.
Ushering in an “oasis of freedom and justice” requires us to turn our nation from the “sweltering heat of injustice and oppression. We must talk about, be about, and live out justice and let freedom ring.” Dr. King relayed this necessity in 1963, “‘My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride let freedom ring.’ If America is to be a great nation, this must become true.” We are driven by Dr. King’s vision and believe, with him, that when any of our neighbors suffer in poverty, we all suffer because “an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.”
The urgent moment Dr. King mentioned in 1963 is sadly still urgent today. The fight for civil rights in America has been and continues to be a struggle that affects all people - regardless of race or ethnicity. Holding to the self-evident truth that all people are created equal requires showcasing this philosophy through acts of love and justice. Each other’s freedom is inextricably linked, and one another’s destinies are conjoined. No one is free if anyone isn’t free. Justice is not just if its scales weigh color.
An outcome of the forces of inequality continues to be a higher percentage of minorities struggling with poverty and hunger. These base issues are where we are making great strides in improving the livelihood of people living in poverty. We work to fix systems in food delivery and improve how communities and religious institutions address the causal effects and outcomes of poverty in their neighborhoods.
Take action for equality and equity. Ride in the inaugural Civil Rides event. If you can’t ride, sponsor. If you can’t sponsor, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, be love and justice where you are.