By Alan Collins
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham high school students hit the streets on Monday to pay tribute and learn a lesson from the past. The program was launched at the 16th Street Baptist Church to recall the Children's March from 1963. "Teenagers went to jail. We are trying to get a better education and stay on the right path," Sherman Roundtree of Huffman High School said.
For many of these students it was an opportunity to learn from the past. "I hope they see what their parents and grandparents are a part of, turning hoses and dogs on us," Menyorn Beachem of Carver High School said.
At the 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham Mayor William Bell addressed the group. "As men and women, boys and girls stood up, change gradually came over America," Bell said.
The students were urged to stay in school and out of trouble with the law. "Everybody should come together, stand as one instead of killing each other," Oscar Johnson of Carver High School said.
"People did it for us. That is why we should act like we have some civilization to stop all of this violence around here. Show some sense. They fought for us," Kikkita Duncan of Huffman High School said.
Former American Idol Ruben Studdard attended the event and later performed. Most who participated call the program a success. "When they see President Obama talk about change, it's not abstract. It's something you can do." DeJuan Coleon of the National Alliance of Faith and Justice said.