A 2014 Look Back
by Ruwa Romman, NCCHR Intern
When I received a call back from The Center for Civil and Human Rights letting me know I would be interning with them, I could not have imagined the amazing experience that would unfold in the months to come. Since I started on June 2, The Center has really become a place of inspiration and change for me. I mean, who wouldn’t feel that way after having the opportunity to take someone like Congressman John Lewis on a tour through the museum?
In the beginning, the buzz leading up to opening day was contagious. From the New York Times to the Associated Press, news organizations spread the word about this amazing place that would bring history to life. The celebration included a choir, a timelapse video, and opening remarks from our CEO Doug Shipman to Mayor Kasim Reed to Congressman John Lewis. As the choir sang “We Shall Overcome” the audience, without a queue, stood up, held hands, and began to move together.
Since then, The Center has been full of heartwarming and eye opening moments. Families held reunions within our walls where they took a trip through history, for some down memory lane, and talked about legacies. Religious groups came through for moments of reawakening. Starting in August, school groups began pouring in. Students whose eyes were glued to their phones would find themselves looking up in awe at history playing before them, phones forgotten.
Back in June, our CEO had remarked in the New York Times that The Center “is trying to take a 15-year-old and move them to interest and inspiration.” A few months later, a mom posted a comment saying “My 15-year-old son was dragged into this tour by his debate coach....6 hours later, he returned with a message -- "Mom, we have got to go back this weekend!" He and his buddies loved it....and that's a big accomplishment for any museum when it comes to teenage boys.” To see The Center’s intentions become a reality has been a tremendous accomplishment.
Being open has not been the only thing that has contributed to The Center’s idea of being a place of learning and dialogue, either. Since June, The Center has held a Girls Summit for the empowerment of young women and girls, International Day of the Girl Celebration, held Immigration Dialogues, and hosted German Exchange students and in support of their project on Human Trafficking to name a few. To realize this all happened over the past six months makes me unbelievably excited for next year!