About Marching On
When Martin Luther King Jr. and the foot soldiers marched from Selma to Montgomery they were seeking more than just the right to vote – they envisioned a future in which all children would have equal opportunity to pursue their goals and achieve their potentials.
Yet too often, Montgomery Public School students—particularly those at the traditional high schools—are denied access to the resources and opportunities that would allow them to achieve their college and career goals.
This program helps students march on towards greater opportunity and their goals by bridging the exposure gap faced by many MPS students.
The six selected students embark on an weeklong journey to Washington, D.C. to better learn how to advocate for themselves and gain valuable knowledge, skills, and advice that inspire them to keep marching on.
The itinerary is designed to maximize the students’ engagement with and exposure to leaders in government and industry, local universities, and cultural institutions. The program affords the students the opportunity to privately meet with prominent individuals in order to learn about their successful careers and then apply those lessons to their own pursuits.
Program participants prepare for the trip by completing academic assignments about leadership and goal setting; researching the individuals and institutions they will be visiting; and developing thoughtful questions to ask during their meetings.
For many of the students participating in the program it is a unique educational experience and rare opportunity to travel outside of the Montgomery area. As a result of participating in this program, many of the students experience flying on an airplane for the first time.
The trip is no cost to the students or their families, as the transportation, lodging, and meals are paid for by the program to ensure that all of the selected students can participate, regardless of their financial status.
When the students meet with executives at Google, discuss education policy with the U.S. Secretary of Education, visit President Obama’s office, and stand at the very spot at the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King told us about his dream, the students feel empowered, and realize that, they too, can accomplish big things.
After the trip, students meet with the program mentors on an on-going basis to help them continue working towards their goals by utilizing the knowledge they gained during the trip.
Phillip Ensler, now a civil rights lawyer in Montgomery, started and has led this program since 2012, when he was a history teacher at Robert E. Lee High School. Marching On is not an official MPS program. The program operates independently through a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation.