Written by Jimi Izrael
The Freedom Schooner Amistad wraps up its 2001 season soon, and one of its final stops is Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Oct. 5-18.
The Amistad, a replica of the cargo ship that took Mendi captives hostage in 1839, acts as a floating classroom using the story of the capture and subsequent release of the Mendi people to teach about tolerance, justice and the God-given right to freedom.
Ann Emery, of Heritage UCC in Baltimore and board member of the UCC's Central Atlantic Conference, spearheaded the effort to bring the Amistad to Inner Harbor.
"The visit tells the story of the Amistad and the fight for freedom. It also tells of the importance of the UCC and the American Missionary Association's role in that story, and also our role in making sure that story of justice and strength through adversity gets told," says the Rev. Art Weidmann, Interim Associate Conference Minister. Weidmann says he thinks the visit will give people "an understanding how far people have gone to secure freedom," and hopefully will initiate ongoing dialogue about institutional racism.
Students will be among the many Baltimore-area visitors to the ship, and will receive copies of The Amistad Event, a study aid assembled by the UCC.
While this season's sailing schedule winds down in November, next season's schedule is already filling up. "We're excited about taking Amistad even further out on the road," says Douglas Fishman of the Amistad America office in New Haven, Conn. "The feedback we have received in expectation of our travels up and down the eastern seaboard has been palpable. We look forward to being able to teach the lessons of justice and leadership that are so inherent within the incident itself."
Contact Amistad America at 203-498-9000 or visit them on the web at www.amistadamerica.org.