Group brings message about civil rights issues to Eau Claire

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Music and dance can sometimes be more powerful than spoken words. It can change opinions and perspectives.

On Friday night, that is what Lexy Harris is hoping a performance by the Random Acts of Theater Company out of Selma, Alabama will do.

"It just opens up something inside of you where it's an unforgettable experience where it's just indescribable," Harris, a UWEC student, said.

She had the opportunity to experience Selma first-hand during a spring break project. It is a place where deep racism is still the norm.

"Our students say the learn more on that trip about racism and injustice than they have learned in their whole life," said Jodi Thesing-Ritter. She was the leader on the trip.

30 UWEC students went on the trip and were so inspired by what they say, they invited a Selma based group called Freedom Foundation, also known as Random Acts of Theater, to come to Eau Claire.

The organization connects Selma through song and dance. It has opened up students there to a world they did not know existed.

"I was getting shot at, beating up fighting, getting in trouble at school," said Marquis, a student who is part of the group.

He thought that was the path he was heading down. But then he gave theater a try.

"I started going, took my life a different direction then what I thought I would be," he said.

Now he is glad he can share his message, his story of his life in Selma, letting people in places like Eau Claire know that decades after the Civil Rights Movement, there are still problems to be solved.

"I've been getting a lot of coaching and stuff from the leaders over us and now we're leaders to the younger ones," he added.