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Bay Haven students walk for civil rights icon

Written by on Thursday, November 16, 2023

First school to integrate in Sarasota County honors Ruby Bridges.

By Ryan Stanley

Original Air Date: Nov. 15, 2023

Host: At an elementary school yesterday in Sarasota, students, parents and teachers walked to honor Ruby Bridges and the history of racial integration of schools. Ryan Stanley was there.

Ryan Stanley: On Tuesday morning, about 100 students, supported by parents, teachers, and staff gathered just across from the Bay Haven School of Basics Plus campus in north Sarasota.

They’re wearing purple, carrying signs, and walking with pride from US 41 to their historic building by the bay. They are walking for Ruby.

Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.

The Ruby Bridges Foundation Walk to School Day is a nationally recognized initiative created in 2018 by a group of students after learning about Bridges’ role in the civil rights movement.

Teidra Everett, mom of three and second grade teacher at Bay Haven, told me why she has co-organized the walk-to-school at Bay Haven for the last two years.

Teidra Everett: We’re here to celebrate the legacy of Ruby Bridges, to ignite courage and bravery with these children. We want to make sure the community is here to support them, let them know that there’s no challenge too small or too great that they can’t accomplish. Fear is not anything other than fuel to be greater.

Now undergoing construction, the 100 year-old schoolhouse at Bay Haven has a connection to Ruby’s fight for school integration. Ms. Everett explains.

TE:  Bay Haven was the first school to integrate in Sarasota County, so we have that special connection to her story. That day, in Louisiana when she walked those steps and had all those people, non-supporters and supporters.

In 1962, 29 black students were admitted to Bay Haven, two years after Bridges integrated William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana.

For more information about the Ruby Bridges Foundation and how to bring her annual walk to your school, click here.

Reporting for WSLR News, this was Ryan Stanley.

 

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