Angela Aviquivil ’19 co-led a group of John Carroll students on the first immersion to Montgomery, Alabama, where they learned about racial justice.
Here is Angela’s story in her own words:
“Co-leading JCU’s first immersion to Montgomery was a challenge in many different ways. We didn’t have anyone to talk to about their experience and how to make ours better. Being the “guinea pigs” definitely brought its ups and downs, but overall it was a transformative trip. Our learning focus of the trip was the Civil Rights Movement and its evolution from the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the freedom rides, and the March from Selma. We learned about these events interactively through visiting different historical sights and civil rights memorials, but we also had the chance to engage in conversation with influential people in the area like Mr. Nelson Malden, who was Dr. Martin Luther King’s barber. There were many moments that were difficult, upsetting, and emotionally exhausting, but I think those were the most powerful points of the trip–learning about what was conveniently left out of our history books.
A moment from our trip that I hold close to my heart was our afternoon spent at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, which is where Dr. King preached when he lived in Montgomery. We had an awesome guide named Wanda who encouraged us to sing and had us repeating powerful quotes and messages by Dr. King. There was also a feeling of wholeness in the church that is hard to describe. The air was light, but the room was full of passion.
One thing I want the JCU community to know is that racism is still an issue today. Systematic oppressions is a problem all around the world, but it is an issue right here in Cleveland. We have the tools to educate ourselves on these issues and we can learn from those who are marginalized by the system. Supporting these movements is a way to promote and practice allyship. We have the power to address these issues–we just need to find the faith and the voice to fight for justice.”