In Spring 2020, Wesley Student Foundation, Presbyterian Student Fellowship, 3rd Way Collective, and Lutheran Student Community went on a Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama. In Alabama, we worked with Alabama Rural Ministry in Tuskegee and the surrounding area, assisting with tornado relief work on local houses. Alongside of this we also traveled to a number of civil rights sites in Montgomery & Tuskegee — National Memorial for Peace and Justice, EJI Legacy Museum, Rosa Parks Museum, MLK Jr sites, Tuskegee Airmen museum, Tuskegee Institute sites, and more! The trip also gave our group of students an opportunity to meet new people, travel to a new place, and spend time in daily reflections
This pilgrimage offered a chance to do service work and build new relationships. I didn’t realize then how impactful the experience would be. The trip challenged me to confront emotions that are not pleasant to feel. I saw the grief of people who not only lost their homes and livelihoods to a natural disaster, but also family members. There were moments of pride in memorials for the Tuskegee Airmen and Rosa Parks, but also moments of shame due to the public Confederate monuments.
In hindsight, going to Alabama was one of the best decisions of my freshman year, and I am grateful to everyone who made this trip possible. It was a reminder that my faith should always challenge me. As Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”