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Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past director inducted into Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame

This story was originally published by WFMJ.

Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past Executive Director Penelope "Penny" Wells has been inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Thursday.

Wells has fought for civil rights, as well as voter rights and fair housing in Youngstown for her entire life.

She attended Brown University and upon graduation became a teacher working in several different schools with many programs including a recycling program at Volney Rogers Junior High School.

Wells is the founder of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past and was also inducted into the Mahoning Valley League of Women Voters in 2016.

According to the non-profit's website, when Wells was attending a teacher's conference in Florida in 2006, she learned of Sojourn to the Past, a California-based non-profit organization.

With the support of then Volney Rogers principal, Marilyn Mastronarde and then YCSD Superintendent, Wendy Web, money was raised and six high school students were selected to participate in the Sojourn to the Past journey.

The non-profit began operation in the spring of 2007 taking high school students on a journey to the civil rights sites in the south, where they meet the "foot soldiers" of the civil rights movement and learn the lessons of social and racial justice, nonviolence, civic responsibility, hope, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and not being a silent witness.

Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past has hosted numerous events including Ohio Nonviolence Week, which has been celebrated in the Valley since 2010.