Friday, May 13, 2011

Students will mark the 50th anniversary of the freedom rides.

East Harlem Kids to Retrace Freedom Riders' Journey

Students at Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation meet with original Freedom Riders Lewis Zuchman and LaVaughn Brown. (Courtesy of Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation)

By Jeff Mays

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

HARLEM — When she gets on a Mississippi-bound bus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders later this month, Victoria Albino, 15, a freshman at East Harlem's Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation will be thinking about immigration.

Her best friend is an immigrant whose brother was deported shortly after receiving his high school diploma because he did not have legal status.

And just like the Freedom Riders — civil rights activists who were imprisoned and attacked when they rode buses across state lines to challenge segregation laws — Albino believes immigration laws need changing.

"He wasn't born here but he's been here since he was young," she said of her friend's brother. "I would have done it for something I believe in. I would have rode to change immigration." 

Albino will join 14 other students from the neighborhood's first charter high school and dozens more from around the city for a four-day ride starting May 20 that will retrace the route of the original Freedom Riders, making stops in Washington, D.C., Greensboro, NC, Atlanta, Ga. and Jackson, Miss.

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