Thank you for your interest in the civil rights pilgrimage in autumn 2017.
We began to conceive of the pilgrimage experiences in 2013, and we have learned a great deal in the many months since. We have spent time in conversation, listening, learning, growing, traveling together, and engaging, all as the contexts of racial justice and race relations in America have profoundly changed. Today we have a re-emergence of the civil rights movement with a coalition of organizations and people, united by the vision that BlackLivesMatter. We also have a US political environment in which the race and ethnicity of candidates and residents, along with their religious views and gender and sexual and national identities, have become manifest targets. It is clear that we are a nation deeply in need of dialogue and change, and we are fully committed to having these conversations and doing all we can to effect change.
Due to the high demand and interest in the civil rights pilgrimages, participation is a highly selective process. When seating the bus, we seek to include a broad range of folks with these characteristics in mind:
1. Diversity across racial, age, gender, and economic standings
2. A fundamental desire to study the arc of the Black American freedom struggle
3. A clear, determined commitment to racial and social justice
4. A belief in the value and essentiality of cross-racial relationship-building
5. A collective full investment in all aspects of the experience
Our experience includes these three key components:
1. We engage in reflection and learning, both individually and collectively. We do this through dialogue within our diverse group, through readings and videos, through meaningful listening and through ongoing journaling and writing.
2. We take a trip to the US South, in which we visit iconic sites of the civil rights movement in places like Birmingham and Montgomery and Selma AL, Oxford and Philadelphia MS, Nashville and Memphis TN. We meet movement footsoldiers, current leaders, and locals — all of whom are committed to justice and opportunities. The “teachers” are the places + people we visit AND the people in our group.
3. We believe in popular education. We engage in a series of workshops to teach, learn and strengthen our toolkit and build cross-racial understanding and trust. These workshops occur before the trip, during meetings in Seattle, as well as during the pilgrimage trip. In the past these workshops have occurred at Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee, at the William Winter Institute at the University of Mississippi, and at the University of Alabama. Combining these group-based moments with a historical curriculum, relationship-building, and visits to iconic historic sites is a powerful combination.
To apply for the Fall 2017 Pilgrimage click here.