July 16, 2015 – SAN DIEGO “ This past Sunday, the Elementary Institute of Science (EIS) and the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation welcomed nearly 800 residents, community leaders, and elected officials to the Jacobs Center’s Celebration Hall for a special presentation from legendary civil rights activist and respected member of Congress John Lewis and his award-winning graphic novel collaborators Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. Lewis, Aydin and Powell made a special visit to Southeastern San Diego’s Diamond Neighborhoods after their 2015 Comic-Con panel to discuss their best-selling graphic novel series March. March recounts Lewis’ experiences during the Civil Rights Movement and provides valuable lessons in nonviolent activism and youth empowerment.
The Jacobs Family Foundation and Jacobs Center Board Members Valerie Jacobs Hapke and Norm Hapke donated 1000 copies of March: Book One and Book Two to students in Southeastern San Diego. EIS coordinated reading and discussion activities with various local schools, churches, and community organizations to engage students in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of the students who participated in these activities were in attendance on Sunday. They welcomed the co-creators with a symbolic march across the Chollas Creek bridge from the Market Creek Plaza Amphitheater to the Jacobs Center. Several students also had the opportunity to ask Lewis and his collaborators questions about their inspiration for March, the civil rights movement, and today’s social justice movements.
With many communities across the country still struggling with social and racial issues today, the messages of hope that March offers were especially meaningful for the community as the Diamond Neighborhoods are largely made up of African American and Latino residents.
“To move forward, we must never forget the lessons of the past. Today’s event is a powerful reminder of that fact,” said Charlene Browne, Development Director for EIS. “EIS was founded in 1964 on the ideals of the Civil Rights Movement. Our founders believed that access to education would help children in the community succeed in the changing world. EIS was honored to partner with the Jacobs Center to bring Congressman John Lewis and co-creators of March to Southeastern San Diego to reaffirm that mission and that message.”
“The Jacobs Center is thrilled to have co-hosted such a significant event with our partners at EIS. Congressman Lewis has spent his career building communities and fighting for human rights. As an organization dedicated to these same causes, we were grateful to have been able to share his inspiring story and the lessons in March with many residents of the Diamond Neighborhoods,” said Angela Titus, Executive Vice President for the Jacobs Center.
March has become a key resource to teach the next generation about a pivotal moment in our nation’s history and has been embraced by countless readers. It’s been adopted in classrooms nationwide, spent 40 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, and even become the first graphic novel to win a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.
About the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation
Founded in 1995, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation is focused on building communities and lifting lives. It works with the community to establish Southeastern San Diego as a vibrant cultural destination through creative placemaking. This means transforming nearly sixty acres into sustainable developments that provide residents with greater access to resources and amenities that improve their quality of life like grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and beautiful places to gather. Additionally, the Jacobs Center works with community organizations to create programs that increase resident’s economic opportunities, leadership skills, and educational success. Learn more at www.jacobscenter.org.