Within a time span of five days a group of Roadrunners will visit some of the most historic sites from the nation’s civil rights movement with the hope of gaining new insights and bringing them back to their own communities.
About 45 UTSA students are stepping on a bus today for the ninth annual Civil Rights and Social Justice Experience.
“We take a busload of students to visit landmarks of the civil rights movement and to take a deep study of leadership through the lens of those stories,” said Eliot Howard, interim director of the Student Leadership Center.
The students will start their trip in Louisiana by visiting the Whitney Plantation, where they’ll be guided through the 18th century plantation grounds and learn “about the forced labor system of a sugar and rice plantation.” Afterward, they’ll head to Jackson, Mississippi, for the Mississippi Museum of Civil Rights and William Winter Institute.
Once in Selma, Alabama, they’ll even get to cross over the Edmund Pettus Bridge—the site of Bloody Sunday, in which protesters were brutally attacked in March 1965 on their march to Montgomery. While in Alabama the students will have the opportunity to experience the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum of African American History.
“Some of the feedback we get from students is that it’s one thing to learn about different parts or moments or sites of the historic civil rights movement, but it’s a completely different thing to go and see them in person and learn about them from people who’ve lived that experience,” said Vincent Perez, program manager of the Student Leadership Center. “It’s emotionally charged and a very powerful journey to share with our students.”
Along with the historical site visits, the Roadrunners will engage in group discussions, listen to guest speakers and watch different films, such as Freedom Riders, Cesar Chavez, and Selma.
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