On June 22 and 23, the Sunflower County Freedom Project hosted alumni, family, and friends to celebrate the organization’s 20th Anniversary. Beginning Friday, the SCFP hosted a Student Showcase that presented student work produced in their creative classes. Students presented raps, a tae kwon do sequence, and singing acts, among other presentations. Afterwards, guests attended a barbeque at the LEAD Center in Sunflower.
On Saturday morning, guests attended a Sunflower County Historical Tour led by co-founder Chris Myers Asch and Civil Rights activist Charles McLaurin. Guests toured important historical sites such as Fannie Lou Hamer’s grave and the William Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Ruleville.
On Saturday afternoon, current Freedom Fellows and SCFP Alumni participated in a Student and Alumni Panel mediated by the previous Executive Director Vaish Shastry.
Then on Saturday night, alumni and friends gathered for the 20th Anniversary Celebration Dinner at The Pharm Restaurant in downtown Ruleville. Speakers included alumni Lukendric Washington, Sunflower’s mayor Desiree Norwood, and co-founder Chris Myers Asch. Students showed a film about Mildred Downey, an important member of the Sunflower community since the project’s inception in 1998.
The dinner culminated with Chris Myers Asch announcing a scholarship in Ms. Downey’s name that will fund educational summer travel for high school students in Sunflower County. These programs include students attending Yale University, Phillips Andover Academy, and Phillips Exeter Academy in New England.
“We are proud to mark 20 years of serving students in the Delta and providing educational opportunities for our young leaders to develop the character and skills needed to be successful. This reunion was a chance for us to reconnect, recharge, and reinforce the bonds that hold the Freedom Project family together, and will allow us to thrive for another 20 years,” said Kate Gluckman, Executive Director of the SCFP.
Since 1998, The Sunflower County Freedom Project’s mission is to create a corps of academically capable, socially conscious, mentally disciplined young leaders in the Mississippi Delta.
Based upon the history and spirit of the 1960's freedom struggle, the Sunflower County Freedom Project aims to motivate young people to become capable and compassionate leaders in their communities.