Students of the Mississippi-Vermont Community Comection class at Twinfield Union School in Marshfield, Vermont have been learning from a “Rights in Action” curriculum. It is a model that enables students to reflect, create and fulfill action plans while building a voice that empowers and is shaped by community. Imagine a new generation of citizen activists bridging our nation’s North and South divide, raising their voices on important public issues, and enlisting community leaders and educators as partners in the civic and political life of their communities. A Vermont student, fully aware of the significance of race and history, reflected on our work and her connection with Mississippi youth, that religion and education separates us; not race. It was here at Twinfield where Vermont students first became aware of the discrimination, exclusion and injustices students from northern Mississippi experience in the process of acquiring an education. Twinfield students have been shocked by stories they heard from the southern students related to the inequitable practices preventing young people in Mississippi from acquiring a first-rate education. Two years ago, the Rural School and Community Trust brought youth-adult teams from the Mississippi Delta, Midwest, and Northeast together at the historic Penn Center in South Carolina. The students immediately experienced compassion for one another and made commitments to find ways to support each other. They learned about the effective organizing principles used in the 1960’s struggle for equality to apply relevant skills to new “civic action” projects in their communities. Since that time, Twinfield students have also become familiar with their southern partners involvement in Youth Innovation Movement Solutions (YIMS), a team of Mississippi youth and community leaders and their efforts to reverse the educational inequities. Vermont students from Twinfield High School are understanding and acting on important issues as part of their school curriculum—a civics in action course. This year, through generous donations from community partners, Twinfield Union School will be sending 26 members to Northern Mississippi to form relationships, visit schools, and participate in workshops and activities devoted to critical awareness of one another’s experiences. This May, students involved in (YIMS) will join us in Vermont. Their visit will be devoted to supporting the Twinfield community members they connected with in Mississippi by attending and participating in academic and community events. The visitors will also participate in training in the "Rights in Action" curriculum developed at Twinfield. We have so much to learn from one another and we are trying to give these students the opportunity to create real change. Please consider donating to help us reach our goal of $39,040, which includes traveling expenses for the Vermont community members to visit Mississippi as well as supporting the fundraising efforts of the Mississippi group to visit Vermont.