After a month of panels promoting various social justice issues particularly shedding light on the inequities of the criminal justice system, the University Honors Program ended their ‘Awareness to Activism’ series with a spring break trip with 22 students.
The trip went through Georgia and Alabama while making stops at various historic landmarks and museums related to the Civil Rights Movement and the current reflection of racial tensions in the United States.
Some of the highlights of the trip were visits to the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Alabama, and Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Martin Luther King, Jr. served as pastor for six years.
For the students who participated, it was a trip that commemorated the fight for civil rights and how the fight for civil rights continues into the present. Malik Majette, a senior in computer science and participant in the trip, said, “It gave a good model for thinking of civil rights as not just something that happened from the 50s and 60s but as something that is still happening.”
The trip concluded with a visit to the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. The EJI is a law center that focuses on modern racial discrimination in the criminal justice system and how it is influenced by the history of racial discrimination against people of color. EJI represents defense work in cases where children face lifelong imprisonment and adults face the death penalty.
Ethan Luong, a junior studying mechanical engineering and participant in the trip, said that the EJI was one of the highlights of the trip. Luong pointed to the EJI’s dedication of a memorial for victims of lynching and how it shows their dedication to civil rights.
Connecting with the theme of ‘Awareness to Activism,’ the series encouraged students that they have the ability to shape the future of racial justice in their communities. The students who attended panels and participated in the trip experienced a positive push towards activism and what that looks like for various activists.
This is the second part of a two-part piece about the University Honors Program’s Awareness to Activism series. Read the first part here.