Some children in Lackawanna County took a special ride Monday to honor civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Junior.
It was a field trip that was more about the travel than it was the destination. Dozens of school children from Scranton made the annual Martin Luther King Day trip on the Rosa Parks bus.
In reality it was just a few miles across town, but the hope is that the message goes much further.
Even four-year-old P.J. understood the basic idea of the ride. “To make his (Martin Luther King’s) wish come true,” he said, explaining King’s wish, “For everyone to be nice.”
The Friends of the Poor and the United Neighborhood Centers have put on the Rosa Parks ride every year for more than a decade. As the buses make the journey from the University of Scranton to Marywood University, the children learn about Rosa Parks, one woman who helped end racial segregation in the U.S.
“She made history, number one, and number two, she made a difference,” said Erricka Ravenell of Scranton.
“They love going on a field trip, something’s going to happen to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. We’re going to take action, we’re going to plant our seeds and hope that they grow,” said Sister Ann Walsh of Friends of the Poor.
The seeds are figurative and literal. At Marywood each child works on a garden pot to take home at the end of the day. The program’s organizers hope the children also take home an appreciation of the civil rights movement.
“Because, I’m glad that I’m in a place where there’s no racism and all that. That people understand my color,” said Jequan Jones of Scranton.
At the end of the program, the children pile back on the Rosa Parks bus and head to a dinner at the the University of Scranton in honor of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.