Last week we shared the launch of the“Da Paat ta Freedum Tour,” or “Path to Freedom Tour,” the 700-mile bike ride being undertaken by BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia) Dream Team and Triangle Bikeworks’ Spoke’n Revolutions Youth Cycling.
One of the most unique and powerful aspects of the Freedom Tour is it’s active, experiential learning platform. Unlike the traditional classroom setting, the Freedom Tour is a lived experience of culture and history, both contemporary and beyond. The team is moving through learning environments on and off the bike.
Week one included a visit to Moores Creek National Battlefield Visitor Center in Currie, NC.
A phenomenal Ranger named Len Garner, connected dots from the War of Independence to the vital role that the Gullah Geechee people played in building America and their skills and overall contributions to the culture.
– Coach Atiba Mbiwan, BRAG Dream Team
Also included in the first week, was a visit to UNC-Wilmington, where Bethel Paris, an ECGA Advisory Board member, Wilmington, NC, resident and adult cyclist on the Freedom Tour, led the group on a campus tour. One of the Tour’s youth, Fernando Sanchez, will be attending UNC-Wilmington as a freshman this fall.
A powerful Freedom Tour stop during Week One, was Charleston, SC. After cycling into the downtown Charleston across iconic Ravenel Bridge, the Freedom Tour cyclists visited Mother Emanuel AME Church, to pay their respects and to hear from the wise and venerable Dr. J. Herman Blake, Executive Director of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, his wife Dr. Emily Moore, and their colleague from the Medical University of S. Carolina – a cyclist and a scientist who conducts research on children’s head injuries.
It was tonight, after a week in each other’s company that they felt safe enough to trust and bare their feelings. I stood back and let the moment happen only speaking to elucidate a point made or to ask the next person the very same question: ‘How did you feel as you left the grounds of Mother Emanuel AME?’
It was a great evening that allowed the kids to decompress and trust one another as they’ve trusted each other on the roads. Thank you Dr. Blake for your kind words that really made an impact on them.
– Coach Kevin Hicks, Triangle Bikeworks
Also that day, the Team participated in a volunteer service project with WINGS for Kids, a nonprofit that addresses children’s social and emotional development needs. That evening the Team dined with WINGS for Kids founder and current mayoral candidate, Ginny Deerin, who conveyed the importance of civic service and community building.
Next week, we’ll report back from the second week of the Path to Freedom Tour, and see what learning and growth experiences the Team has had in Georgia and Florida.