Does separating education between ethnic groups make it more fair or equal?
What power do governments have to increase or decrease racism?
Have inequalities around you become more apparent during the COVID pandemic?
These and other questions were grappled with on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as the GHIS community met with hundreds of Memphis youth over Zoom. This was the culmination of three months of planning by a GHIS team and representatives of the Memphis Ambassadors Program. This program serves 400-500 youth across Memphis, focusing on community service, leadership, education, entrepreneurship, and perseverance.
Through this project students learned to collaborate and lead a diverse team using digital solutions on an international scale. Students in Memphis and Israel got to know one another’s interests, values and priorities, giving a new perspective to the value of using video conferencing to develop international friendships and deepen their understanding of life in other cultures.
For many GHIS students, it was the first time that they understood the importance of Memphis to the Civil Rights Movement. As a city that experienced the segregation and disenfranchisement of African Americans, today’s youth have a similar motivation to the GHIS students in resolving the inequalities in their communities.
The day itself was eye opening for all the participants, as they understood the commonality of so many issues regardless of geography. It is hoped that a similar event will be repeated in the next academic year.
We expect that our first African American students will come from these connections; young people who will take their experiences in leadership, conflict resolution and profound kindness back to Memphis to become catalysts for change.