Over the weekend of March 19-21 2015, Jermarkus Booker, Caprecia Camper and Ben Eichberg traveled to Jerusalem to present a snapshot of their work as young leaders fighting the urgent issues of structural racism in American education. Invited by the New Story Leadership, an innovative narrative based conflict transformation program, the three AmeriCorps members were part of the #Encourage Conference, where alums of NSL joined other peace activists to share stories of courage that would send a message of encouragement to a world hungry for hope. Despite the last Gaza war and despite the results of the elections earlier that week, young people from Israel and Palestine and the USA and Ireland were coming together over this special weekend to encourage each other in their struggle for change, and their quest for peace.
The message coming to them from guest speakers such as Ambassador Saeb Erakat and Knesset Member Hillek Barr and various members of the USA delegation to the region was- “Don’t give up now. We need you more than ever.” And the AmeriCorps members shared their own struggles with racism and shared their work of fighting discrimination that creates a yawning gap in school achievement between minority and majority students.
This is a first for Project Change and probably a first for AmeriCorps for members to be invited to share their story and their volunteer experience on an international stage.