A quarter-mile walk five years ago across Alabama’s historic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma remains etched in Meredith Ratto’s mind.

Tracing the steps of a famous 1965 voting rights march, 100 normally chatty high school students from around the country trudged wordlessly, recalling what became known as Bloody Sunday.

“No one was talking,” Ratto, now 23, recalled of that trip with her classmates from St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda. “To think about how that would have felt to be stopped by police with tear gas and horses and batons was a very internal and eye-opening experience.”

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