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Whitworth student leads movement to teach U.S. Civil Rights history in public schools

Elizabeth PorterWhitworth speech communications major Elizabeth Porter, '16, is overseeing implementation of a new student-led volunteer program called Teach the Movement. Teach the Movement brings college students from throughout Washington State into K-12 classrooms to teach U.S. Civil Rights history.

Originally developed by Whitman College faculty and students, Teach the Movement's popularity has grown immensely over the past two years. Throughout 2014-15, Porter has helped plan Whitworth's involvement with Teach the Movement and also in developing a strategy for implementing the program throughout Spokane area high schools.

In addition to Porter's leadership in Teach the Movement, she is also working with the Center for Service-Learning to bring Civil Rights speakers to campus to give free public lectures.

Porter says that her goal reflects Whitworth's mission to connect the past and present in its 125-year celebration.

"In order for students in the public-school system today to be fully educated, there must be a way to connect the relevance of current events and history," Porter says. "Students' ability to understand the struggles of past groups, possibly different from themselves, is a big first step in developing empathy and becoming well-rounded."

After graduating from Whitworth, Porter plans to pursue a career working with secondary-education students. She also plans to earn a master's degree in intercultural or cross-cultural communications.