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Operation Understanding DC students in the Piedmont

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Their bus pulled up to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum as a part of a tour of Greensboro.

Twelve African-American and 12 Jewish students from the D.C. area are on a 25-day journey visiting places that were critical to the civil rights movement.

Their journey follows the Freedom Riders route.

“I think it's one thing to learn about the bus boycotts, to read about it, but there is so much more than meets the eye,” student Claire Ivers said.

The students are part of the program Operation Understanding DC.

“[They’re here] as a social justice group to help create understanding across DC, Maryland, and Virginia as well as across the world,” said Camille Harris, a Summer Journey Leader with Operation Understanding DC.

The students’ trip to Greensboro came on the heels of recent local and national protests.

The weekend before their visit, hundreds of people protested throughout downtown Greensboro in response to the recent police involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.

“With everything that happened this week, we think that we feel the same way that a lot of other younger people felt back in that generation,” student Maxwell Leathers said.

The national tension leading to violence in Dallas and sparking tough conversations across the country.

“We have been able to have discussions that haven't always been easy. They've had moments of tension. We've gotten uncomfortable, but through that we've been able to grow stronger,” Ivers said.

“The thing that's so exciting for me is watching them to be able to talk through these things on a daily basis and talk about the things that they can do in their community in order to create change,” Harris said.

After Greensboro, the students’ itinerary included stops in Durham and Charlotte.