Civil rights pioneer Ruby Bridges says America today looks a lot like the world she helped integrate 54 years ago: A nation with segregated schools and racial tension.

On Nov. 14, 1960, Bridges — then 6 years old — became the first black student to attend a previously all-white elementary school in New Orleans. On Friday, she commemorates that event with the unveiling of a statue in her likeness at her old school and a reunion with the white teacher who taught her and with the sole-surviving U.S. marshal who walked her to school.

She says racism remains painfully real. She points to events in Ferguson, Missouri, revelations about racist comments made by owners in the National Basketball Association and how so many schools have failed to become racially mixed.