A Journey to progress
Insight from the Anniston Star
By Portia Shepherd
Special to The Star
04-29-2007

Wednesday morning started with an anxious group of black college students arriving in Montgomery after a 90-minute bus ride from Miles College.

After arriving on the Capitol steps the students and I went to greet staffers from Greater Birmingham Ministries, an ecumenical nonprofit involved in constitutional reform.

Later, the Miles students went to meet senators before a noon rally in support of a new state Constitution. Entering the Statehouse was like a dream since none of us had ever been inside.

After going through security, we preceded upstairs to the office of the state senator whose district covers Miles College, E.B. McCain.

What I noticed the most about us walking through the Statehouse were the people who were staring at us, wondering what we were doing there.

We were approached by a lot of employees asking what we were there for. We began to explain and the look on their faces showed that they were not expecting that from us. We did not get approached by a lot of public officials; they all just stared.

The Alabama Constitution is an issue that some might say should not be addressed at this time. I say, why not?

This Constitution directly affects people who are below the poverty line in this state.

Having that experience Wednesday changed not only the mindset of the students, but public officials as well.

The roadtrip was a great experience. For the first time, students were able to talk with local representatives and senators about an issue that will affect us for the rest of our lives.

Portia Shepherd is majoring in political science at Miles College.

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