April 20, 2010

Councilman Jay Roberson, District 7 Birmingham City Hall, Third Floor Office of City Council 710 North 20th Street Birmingham AL 35203 ph. (205) 254-2498 National Press and Media Outlets Invitation to participate in the implementation of the PEN OR PENCILΠNational Service Learning Initiative for students of the City of Birmingham, in commemoration the Birmingham Children's March of 1963. Where: Historic 16th Street Baptist Church Birmingham, AL 35203 When: May 3, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.


On May 2-3, 1963 the children of Birmingham, Alabama played a vital role in restoring humanity to themselves and to a race-divided America. To commemorate this historic act, today's youth of Birmingham and surrounding areas are invited to imbibe the same spirit of the Birmingham children of 1963 and re-emerge as contemporary civil rights leaders, linking history, social studies, civic education, math, health, and economic literacy national standards to meaningful service as advocates for juvenile justice and behavioral reform, violence reduction improved reading and communities through the implementation of the PEN OR PENCILŒ National Service Learning Initiative. WHAT IS PEN OR PENCILŒ? PEN is short for penitentiary and PENCIL represents education. The initiative blends history, social studies, civic education, economic, and service learning standards into an experiential

learning framework to inspire critical thinking, skills development, and activism by youth to choose the road away from prison and jail and towards a quality education. Through PEN OR PENCILŒ, social action strategies evolve from the stories, courage, and examples of little and well known participants of the Underground Railroad and the modern day civil rights movements. Birmingham City Councilor Jay Roberson, District 7 Representative, has partnered with the National Alliance of Faith and Justice to empower students in the City of Birmingham to express their current discontent with the current negative behaviors demonstrated in and out of school. These behaviors are at the core of many rooted issues which deprive schools, families, individuals, and communities from reaching their full potential. As a result of participation in this event, youth will: y Learn about the engagement of youth during the civil rights movement that coincide with national education standards but are less known in a classroom environment using the documentary The Mighty Times Children's March and other program tools. Begin the process of understanding how they, as a power of one and a group, cultivate civic responsibility and civic engagement to reduce violence, dropping out of school, leverage criminal justice reform, and disproportionate minority contact with law enforcement. Learn about the 2010-2011 service learning strategy for PEN OR PENCILŒ Identify leadership skills necessary to achieve change.


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We feel it is imperative that youth, particularly those who are at greatest risk of entry into the criminal justice system and/or academic failure, realize that history's sacrifices guarantee more than the right to remain silent and go to jail.

Direct media inquiries to Jacqueline Gray Miller, Public Information Officer, Birmingham City Council, at 205.908.7392 or ³The world does not want and will never have the heroes and heroines of the past. What this age needs is an enlightened youth not to undertake the tasks like theirs, but to imbibe the spirit of the great men and answer the present call to duty with equal nobleness of soul.´
- Dr. Carter G. Woodson

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