News Release

Chicago Nonprofit Launches New Racial Reconciliation Movement: The Justice Journey Experience TM CHICAGO – Sept. 5, 2017 – An independent, nonprofit organization – The Justice Journey Experience TM – is launching a new effort to promote social justice and improve race relations in American society by bringing diverse groups together on common ground. On Sept. 11, a multicultural group of 56 will depart from Chicago on a six-day pilgrimage to Civil Rights sites in the South, with visits to Atlanta, Selma and Birmingham, Ala., and Memphis, Tenn. The participants include pastors and members from 11 predominantly black, white and Chinese churches in Chicago and the suburbs, including Clarendon Hills, Naperville, and Oak Park, Ill.

In the future, the organization will offer pilgrimages, community forums, and advocacy training to both faith-based and secular groups, such as businesses, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and multicultural and community groups.

The Justice Journey Experience is led by Rev. Alvin C. Bibbs, Sr., president and CEO, who developed the original Justice Journey concept in 2004 while on staff at Willow Creek Community Church, an evangelical, non-denominational congregation in South Barrington, Ill. He has been involved in social justice issues from his early years, when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. singled him out as a future leader.

“The vision of The Justice Journey Experience is to raise up generations of justice leaders and advocates as guardians of our shared democracy, one person at a time,” says Rev. Bibbs. “At a time when our nation seems so divided, we have real hope for the future, because we have seen how lives can be transformed and individuals mobilized to make a difference in their communities.”

The Justice Journey Experience will offer opportunities for people of all ages, races, and backgrounds to witness the history of the Civil Rights Movement, come together across racial lines to share perspectives, and move together on a path toward greater unity in our society.

“The Justice Journey Experience challenges our assumptions about the differences between us, and that allows us to grow in our understanding for one another and our empathy for current social issues,” says Gina Buresch, chair of the board for The Justice Journey Experience. “If we want to impact society, it starts with individuals. We want to empower people to take leadership roles in their communities to help make this world a better place.”

Participants on the pilgrimage will visit historic sites, learn from Civil Rights leaders and scholars, discuss current issues, and discover how to further the cause of social justice in their communities. Speakers include Dr. John Perkins, Civil Rights activist and president of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation; Dr. Michael Emerson, provost of North Park University in Chicago; Dr. Larry Lloyd, president and CEO of the Memphis Leadership Foundation; Dr. Mary Nelson, executive consultant, Parliament of the World’s Religions; Dr. A.G. Miller, professor of religion at Oberlin College in Ohio; and Eli Morris, senior associate and urban ministry pastor, Hope Church, Memphis.

Select events of the pilgrimage will be streamed live on Facebook at The Justice Journey Experience page.

The Justice Journey Experience is dedicated to working together for the good of all. Our mission is to mobilize diverse groups of people to address race relations and social justice issues through community-based action. Our vision is to raise up generations of social justice leaders and advocates to carry on the work locally and nationally. The Justice Journey Experience was formed in 2017 as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, organized and operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. More information is available at thejusticejourneyexperience.org.