Cesar Chavez Grad Visit Africa
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Jan 31, 2019
Visit Africa Students

Visit Africa Students

Visit Africa Students

This past July, Amarion Martin (Cesar Chavez Continuation High School, Class of 2018) traveled to Africa with a group of 10 students and alumni from the Social Justice Learning Institute’s Urban Scholars program.

During the 2017-18 school year, Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) was brought by CUSD to Centennial High School and Chavez Continuation High School to work with their male population. The Program exists to provide academic and career development support through a social justice lens. Amarion was one of the students in SJLI’s inaugural class. Because of his hard work in the program, he was invited to go on an all-expense paid trip to South Africa. “I couldn't believe it when he told me that his trip to Africa was the first plane trip he had ever taken!” said Laura Brown.

The group traveled to Ethiopia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Some of the activities they engaged in include exploring Addis Ababa, visiting the Nelson Mandela Museum, conversing with an anti-apartheid freedom fighter, and visiting Victoria Falls.

Before Departing for Africa, Amarion shared, “ I think it's a good opportunity to learn more about my roots and where I come from.”

In the classroom, students in the Social Justice Learning Institute program explore a variety of topics including Black male identity, Black history, and the African diaspora. The trip to Africa aimed to provide students with the opportunity to dive deeper by exploring the history of South Africa and ancestral connections to the African continent. The goal is to heighten their critical consciousness and help them see that world is bigger than their day-to-day lives in Compton, Inglewood, and South Los Angeles.

“Through SJLI Amrion was exposed to college level curriculum, visited colleges and universities, and participated in a civic action research project. Additionally, he had mentors from SJLI that advocated for him when he had to go to court; worked as the liaison between him and his teachers; helped him complete college applications; and helped him recover enough credits to graduate from high school with his class,” Brown explained.

Participants gain the tools to not only thrive academically but also to become leaders in their communities. Brown said, “As a result of this trip Amarion, the kid that wasn't into school, now wants to travel the world! He has volunteered to come talk to students at Chavez about his experience with SJLI. SJLI has opened Amarion's eyes to a whole new world.”