LAUNCH OF JOURNEY TO JUSTICE: FOOTSTEPS TO FREEDOM IN THE NORTH EAST
Saturday April 4th is the anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s assassination and was the date of our North East launch. Journey to Justice is part of his legacy. In our exhibition we tell the stories of less well-known people who chose to join the civil rights movement and, by doing so, helped bring more justice to the world. We celebrated with a rich mix of local singers and speakers from our partners and supporters and poetry by young people in Leyton, London who are part of Journey to Justice.
Highlights included a song composed by Crossings for JtoJ, music of North East heritage performed by Johnny Handle and Benny Graham and an impassioned speech about the global meaning of Justice by Archie Sibeko, international trade unionist and a former cell mate of Nelson Mandela.
The event was run by 20 of our volunteers and at the end they each read a line from the speech by MLK when he came to receive his honorary degree at Newcastle University on 13th November 1967.
See here for the full programme.
The exhibition was opened by Marcia Saunders, former US civil rights activist in the Tennessee voter registration campaign and whose story is told in the exhibition . She cut the ribbon with Spencer Moore of Kingsmeadow School after he sang Oh Freedom with his community choir and all his heart.
See here for Marcia’s speech.
350 people packed into the magnificent Great Hall at Discovery Museum. Formerly the canteen and ballroom for Co-op workers, it was the perfect venue for our opening and all filmed by the BBC. We had a minute of fame on Look North that night which – with fantastic coverage on the radio and in The Journal and Chronicle has brought hundreds of visitors to our exhibition.
‘The Journey to Justice Newcastle launch was a diverse and inspiring event to all who attended. The inclusive nature of the launch ensured all voices from all campaigns, from the civil rights movement to tackling poverty today – were heard. All linked by the way normal people see something that is wrong and strive to change it. Our highlights were Archie’s inspiring speech, the photographs from campaigns and of course the singing!’
PEN (Poverty Ends Now) group
‘The inclusiveness of J2J shone through. Especially important was putting people on stage who clearly are not often given such a platform alongside confident experienced speakers and leaders and the MP.’
‘I loved every minute of the incredible launch. I know many of you have worked so hard to deliver this dream. It was a moving afternoon with wonderful speeches and music. My parents and boyfriend attended – they hadn’t really known what to expect but they came away very much inspired and full of it. I feel very privileged to be involved.’
‘It was a great day of solidarity and aspiring activists. There was a humbling atmosphere full of smiles. We are not here for fame and money but for change and empowerment.’
‘It was a magnificent afternoon.’ ‘The opening was fantastic..Everyone was superb…Zola’s a legend!’
‘It was so special to be part of the day and I felt proud as punch that my parents and sister were able to see it. They were all so impressed, HUGE congratulations!’
With many thanks, as always, to our funders, supporters, guests, performers and volunteers.
Photography courtesy of Aziz Rahman