CINCINNATI - It’s been a decade since the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened on the riverfront in Cincinnati.
It’s been 50 years since Freedom Summer participants worked to eradicate racism in the south--from the ballot box to the classroom--and the Freedom Center doesn’t want local college students to forget it.
Clarence G. Newsome, president of the Freedom Center, is launching a social media campaign aimed at young people in hopes of keeping the spirit of Freedom Summer alive. It starts on Aug. 21.
“Dr. Newsome wants to help drive activism,” said Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator with the Freedom Center. “What we are doing with this campaign is helping bring to light issues (Newsome) holds close. Education, equality, things that affect Cincinnati locally and at a global level.”
The initiative is two-fold. First, student bloggers from the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University and Northern Kentucky University blogging and posting pieces that relate to Freedom Summer. These posts will include initiatives students are taking on their campuses and how they’re taking charge.
“Professors and other thought leaders within the region are able to participate and engage in the conversation,” Johnson said. “So we can activate a new generation of freedom fighters.”
Much of the initiative will live on Twitter and Instagram from Newsome’s end and a blog post will be hosted on the Freedom Center’s website.
“These are a new generation of people who will be able to influence positive change,” Johnson said. “He wants to hear from them, wants to have open dialog. He wants to help activate them so they can actually have an area to be heard, where they can take action.”
Taking action is the second part of the project. The Freedom Center is planning a symposium for students and professors involved in the program that will take place in October.
Tatum Hunter, the Freedom Center’s Public Relations and Marketing intern, will be taking part in the symposium, as will several of her colleagues at Xavier Center of Faith and Justice.
“There are so many social issues that get talked about constantly in the news and social media especially,” Hunter said. “There’s some concept, some idea of freed to be found in each of these. We thought it’d be cool if we allowed local students and professors to have a place to discourse with freedom where they found it.”
Hunter has spent the summer interning with the Freedom Center and will contribute to the blog associated with the symposium; she also acts as the editor of Xavier's Center for Faith and Justice blog.
She said she's happy she will be able to continue her work with the Freedom Center through the symposium.
"Freedom is such a huge concept," Hunter said.
Connect with the Freedom Center
Connect with WCPO Community Manager Libby Cunningham on Twitter: @WCPOLibby .