Teaching for Transformation

Some 96% of students completing Sojourn believe that they are capable of effecting significant change, as opposed to 78% before Sojourn.

Teaching for Transformation

Some 96% of students completing Sojourn believe that they are capable of effecting significant change, as opposed to 78% before Sojourn.

“They thought that bullets would silence us. But they failed…weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, power, and courage were born.”

~ Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist

Last year, the incidence of racism and hate-based crimes increased by *nearly 20% in major U.S. cities. New York jumped by 28.4%, Los Angeles by 13%, Philadelphia by 9%, Chicago by 9%, and Arizona by a whopping 46%. We are experiencing a new, turbulent, and insidious “normal.” If we keep quiet, the problem will just keep growing.

Sojourn Project is committed to teaching for transformation. Providing immersive, experiential, paradigm-shifting Journeys out of the classroom and into real life. We show young people, through direct experience, how they can and must speak out against discrimination, violence, bigotry, inequity, and hate. To stand up for the most vulnerable in society – that their voices do matter. As one Sojourner explains, “I’ve learned that you can’t stand by waiting for a change; you’ve got to step up and be the change.”

*According to police data compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino.

On Sojourn, Every Single Day, Relevance Hits You.

Imagine 100 high school students traveling across the American South: Sitting where four little girls were murdered in a 1963 Birmingham church bombing and talking with McNair family members. Writing essays in the driveway where Medgar Evers, Mississippi civil rights activist, was assassinated.

As Sojourners learn about – and from – people in the Modern Civil Rights Movement, they’re literally walking in someone else’s shoes. Through the constant reflection, each child and each adult that comes on Sojourn has a transformative “moment.” When tears flow, personas drop away, and hearts open. When they begin to think about building a life with greater meaning and effecting change in our world.

The magic is also about helping kids see that other people have similar experiences and recognize their own as valid. It sticks with them in a way that holds transformative alchemy.

Everyone is impacted in a personal way. Change may happen in seven days or in six months, but down the line they remember the lessons learned on the journey.

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

Give $100

You’ll provide one Sojourn student with a carefully curated curriculum binder with rich primary source materials, many provided by movement veterans.

Donate $3,200

You’ll cover the entire cost of one full scholarship for the Sojourn Journey.

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