DERBY, Conn. (WTNH) — Students at Irving School in Derby paid homage to the American civil rights activist Ruby Bridges on Tuesday with their annual Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.
“Today is our Ruby Bridges Walk To School day,” said Mark Russo, the principal of Irving School.
This annual walk was held on the anniversary that 6-year-old Bridges integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans on Nov. 14, 1960. Bridges was forced to walk to school each day after being denied a seat on the school bus because of the color of her skin.
“When Ruby Bridges went to school for the first time she had to be escorted by police and she didn’t understand why, and I think these kids will understand today that this is a privilege in a school together,” said Torine Creppy, president of the Safe Kids Coalition.
The walk was held in conjunction with the school’s daily Walking School Bus, where school staff went to each door in the neighborhood to make sure each student got to school safely and on time.
More than 1000 schools and 500,00 children participated in this day to honor the fight that Bridges battled for equal access to education.
63 years later, Bridge’s vision is told in her book where she discusses a goal to end racism and bullying, one step at a time.
Griffin Hospital and the Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley partnered in this effort to help keep students safe, along with the American Automobile Association (AAA) Northeast.
“We at AAA honor the walking as we are always focused on pedestrian and traffic safety,” said Adelle Zocher, AAA public affairs specialist. “And recognize that each child deserves a safe school experience.”
Organizers said that the goal of this day is to teach children to walk through history and learn not to repeat the past.