Introducing Sojourn Project

“‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question. ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Spokesperson and Leader of the Modern Civil Rights Movement

Introducing Sojourn Project

“‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question. ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Spokesperson and Leader of the Modern Civil Rights Movement

For almost 20 years and through 90+ study trips to the American Deep South and Washington, D.C., Sojourn Project has been immersing middle and high school students from diverse backgrounds in academic, transformative weeklong moving-classroom Journeys. Along the path and through the lens of the Modern Civil Rights Movement and America’s struggles for liberty. Living history. Learning about sacrifices made and lives taken to achieve the right to vote and equality. Our greatest hope is for young people to recognize that they too can stand up to injustice and do extraordinary things.

A California-based nonprofit, Sojourn has been honored by the United States Congress as the longest-running social justice education and outreach program of its kind.

This is not a tour.

Sojourn students meet the unsung heroes of the Modern Civil Rights Movement and find resonance in their own lives.

National Recognition.

Sojourn is the proud recipient of the nation’s highest honor for exemplary afterschool programs in the arts and humanities.

We have also received the Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award, Civil Rights and Social Justice Award, and Andrew Goodman Hidden Heroes Award.

Sojourn: Needed Now. More Than Ever.

White supremacists demonstrating in Charlottesville, to a murderous conclusion. Racist and homophobic graffiti on bathroom walls in Danville. Offensive memes targeting women and minorities at Harvard. Hate crimes, prejudice, and bullying against groups and individuals because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, origin, or other differences are soaring.

Empowering. Not Provoking.

Sojourn plants seeds that foster equity, mutual respect, and nonviolent social action. What happened in Little Rock in 1957, Ferguson in 2014, Portland in 2017, and Parkland in 2018, affect everyone, and informs our curriculum. Dr. King’s immortal words ring in our ears: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

We ask our students, “How are you considering other people’s voices?” We invite debate and Socratic inquiry. Energizing, rigorous, and uplifting, in this rich educational and experiential environment – age appropriate – transformation happens, from the inside out. It’s almost magical.

It Gets Real on Sojourn.

Right where stuff happened. Sojourners experience the Gettysburg Civil War Battlefield with sound and fury; hear Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech wafting through the chilly air at Stone Mountain, birthplace of the modern-day Ku Klux Klan; fill pews at the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four little girls were murdered, listening to family members speak of loss, fear, and hope; walk in historic footprints at Little Rock Central High School; learn about the 917 hate groups currently operating in the United States.

Sojourn’s eyes-wide-open discourse is a valuable, compassionate, and actionable antidote.

3 Ways to Think and Act Differently.

1

Apply Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Six Principles of Nonviolence in your home, school, community, and life.

2

Remove hurtful language from your vocabulary.

3

Confront bad behavior. Speak up. Don’t be a silent witness to injustice.

What our students, teachers, and leaders are saying…

  • "Witnessing students discussing the complexities of the history and policies of the United States in our nation’s revered landmarks is one of my most treasured teaching moments."

    K. McNulty Middle School Teacher, Sojourn Alum
  • "Life-Changing. Transformative. Soul-Softening. Seeing myself as a sister to my fellow brothers and sisters in the walk of life of justice... and Making a gracious oath to no longer be a silent witness in every aspect of my life."

    W. Morgan Student, Sojourn Alum
  • "The goal of teaching is to be able to instill confidence and skills in a student to go along with content knowledge and relate it to the student’s life. Sojourn was able to do that with me by teaching me as a high school student more than just the history of the Civil Rights Movement, but to take action and be a voice of my community…"

    Pablo Aguilera Graduate, Stanford University, U.S. History Teacher, Sojourn Alum
  • "I thought no one cared about us. During my Sojourn Journey, I felt recognized, validated, and empowered for the first time. You could feel it. American Civil Rights speakers talking about their firsthand experiences and showing us that we don’t need to be quiet. Any one of us can bring about change."

    A. Vasquez Pre-Law Student, Social Activist, Sojourn Alum
  • "The students I met on Sojourn Project…received valuable lessons in tolerance, nonviolence, compassion, forgiveness, faith, and social responsibility. These are the concepts that will give rise to tomorrow’s social leaders."

    Congressman John Lewis 5th District of Georgia, Civil Rights Activist
  • "The most impactful thing was meeting Reverend Billy Kyles, because he made me realize that I do have a dream. All I have to do is believe in myself."

    Sojourn Alum
  • "…Before Sojourn,…I was closeminded and judgmental. My grades were suffering and I was lacking inspiration. From Sojourn, not only did I learn about the Civil Rights Movement, I learned about myself. I began to realize that I was capable of succeeding…I now attend college and am interested in becoming a lawyer or police officer…"

    I. B. Sojourn Alum
  • "The goal of the teaching is to be able to instill confidence and skills in a student to go along with content knowledge and relate it to the student’s life…"

    P. Aguilera Graduate, Stanford University and History Teacher, Sojourn Alum
  • "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."

    James Baldwin Civil Rights Activist, Writer, Social Critic, Grandson of a Slave
  • "…As the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death approaches, we need to recall his messages more than ever, 'Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.'"

    Minnijean Brown-Trickey Member of the Little Rock Nine, Civil Rights Activist, Environmentalist, Peacemaker
  • "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spokesperson and Leader of the Modern Civil Rights Movement
  • "I recently partook in a different program, with a similar theme. However, I liked your program more because it was such an emotional experience that really changed who I am as a person. I still think about that trip to this day and all of the amazing people I got to meet on that trip. I would love to accompany you on another trip and possibly teach a lesson with one of the staff."

    J. Manning Sojourn alum
  • "There is a difference between the remembrance of history and reverence for it. We are talking about truth."

    Mayor Mitch Landrieu New Orleans
  • "Sojourn Project allows participants to not just touch history, but to touch those who made history."

    Reverend Samuel Billy Kyles Civil Rights Leader
  • "If not us, then who? If not now, then when?"

    Congressman John Lewis 5th District of Georgia, Civil Rights Leader, Sojourn Mentor
  • "I have witnessed non-engaged students from my school learn and appreciate the value of education on Sojourn and apply those lessons upon their return to school…most gratifying…"

    California County Teacher of the Year Sojourn Teacher Alum
  • "Engagement with and between the kids is incredible. The preparation pre-trip gets them ready for something that's so deep, it seems beyond their comprehension, yet their responsiveness and comments prove how much they're not only getting, but how much they are retaining…It's also about a much bigger picture for them as young adults, developing a level of understanding other people that truly sets them apart – in whatever path they take. I'M BLOWN AWAY!"

    E. Pleschner Sojourn Adult Participant & Alum
  • "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that 'all men are created equal'."

    Abraham Lincoln U.S. Representative, Lawyer, U.S. President
  • "Witnessing students discuss the complexities of the history and policies of the United States in our nation’s revered landmarks is one of my most treasured moments."

    Karen McNulty Sojourn Middle School Teacher
  • "The most impactful thing was meeting Reverend Billy Kyles, because he made me realize that I do have a dream. All I have to do is believe in myself."

    Sojourn Alum

Help Young People Build Inner Strength and a Credo of Personal Responsibility.

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