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AFSC - NH Celebration of Youth Activism

The Celebration of Youth Activism on Saturday night was a great success. The talk by civil-rights activist Claudette Colvin was eye-opening, and the young activists were inspiring. To hear recordings of the talks and presentations, go to communications.uml.edu/connections/ . For my blog on the subject, see nhpeacenik.livejournal.com/33799.html . Here is what Arnie Alpert of the American Friends Service Committee's Concord (NH) office had to say:


There were about 150 people at the AFSC-NH Celebration of Youth Activism Saturday evening in Concord.  We had a wonderful meal, prepared by volunteers, followed by a stimulating and uplifting program.  It was an honor to hear Claudette Colvin reflect on the courageous stand she took when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated Montgomery bus in 1955, 9 months before a similar action by Rosa Parks touched off the Montgomery bus boycott.  “It felt like Harriet Tubman pushing down on one shoulder, and Sojourner Truth pushing down on another.  History had me glued to the seat,” she said.  The following year she took another risk by putting her name on a lawsuit against bus segregation. 

Phil Hoose, author of the new book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, introduced Claudette, and reminded us that it was the success of the lawsuit, not just the boycott and Dr. King’s leadership, which brought about victory.  Phil, who first learned about Claudette when he was writing a book about the role of youth in U.S. history, also commented on the important role of AFSC and our youth program in particular. 

“Because I’ve written the kinds the books I’ve written, to quote Johnny Cash, ‘I’ve been everywhere,’” Phil said.  “And there is no program that inspires youth activism in such a disciplined, focused and helpful way as this one here. “

Several youth activists associated with AFSC shared their gifts.  Moira Geary led us in singing a Bob Marley song.  Timmy Olurunfemi, Jay Olurunfemi,, Elijah Walker, and Addy Simwerayi all performed original raps.  Addy also served as co-emcee, with Holly Clayman. 

The Concord Monitor published a front page story about the event on Sunday.  You can read it at:  http://concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091011/FRONTPAGE/910110432

If you missed the event I’d love to send you a copy of the program booklet.  Please let me know. 

We also have copies of several of Phil’s books, including Claudette Colvin; We Were There, Too;  and The Race to Save the Lord God Bird.  I’ll be sending back unsold copies to the publisher at the end of the week, so let me know now if you want me to save one for you.

Thanks again to all the volunteers, presenters, and participants who made our event successful.


Arnie Alpert

NH Program Coordinator