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Eugene & Springfield schools observe 'Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day'

Melorie Begay
Two Rivers-Dos Rios Elementary students walked to school together on Nov. 17, 2021 in observance of 'Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day' in Springfield, Ore.

Dozens of staff and students in Eugene and Springfield walked together before school Wednesday morning, in celebration of ‘Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.’

A civil rights activist, Bridges was the first African-American child to attend an all-white elementary school in New Orleans on Nov. 14, 1960. The historic event produced one of the most iconic photographs taken during the civil rights movement, a 6-year-old Bridges being escorted by three U.S. Marshalls to and from school.

Melorie Begay
Two Rivers-Dos Rios Principal Charlie Jett led students in reading a pledge that included promises participants should strive for in honor of 'Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day' on Nov. 17, 2021 in Springfield, Ore.

Several K-12 schools participated in the national ‘Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day,’ including Two Rivers-Dos Rios Elementary school in Springfield. Principal Charlie Jett says Bridges’ bravery is both significant and needed in classrooms today.

“In this day and age we need to recognize and celebrate diversity and inclusion even more, every child deserves to feel like they belong at school because that’s the foundation, that safety knowing that I then can learn,” Jett said.

The event was organized by the Lane African American Black Student Success Program (AABSS). Participants in Springfield gathered at a park where they were able to learn more about Ruby Bridges from AABSS members and volunteers. They also received free t-shirts and breakfast.

Vanessa Clemons, with AABSS works with African American high school students in the Churchill and Springfield region.

“I really hope [the event] brings courage for the kids and community,” she said. Clemons said she would like to see the Lane Education Service District embrace Bridges’ story.

“I think in the wake of a lot of things that have unfolded throughout recent history for us, like George Floyd, to continue to have these conversations, to continue to stand up to racism, Ruby speaks to all of that,” she said.

To learn more about Ruby Bridges, please visit https://www.rubybridges.com/.

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