The Desmond Tutu Peace Lab at Butler University
"Sites of Conscience" and Civil Rights Memorialization:
A Study TouR TO
Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama
Thursday Feb 28 to Sunday March 3, 2019
Funded by the Desmond Tutu Peace Lab, Butler University's Honors program and Butler's Student Government Association
“Forward together- not one step back!”
By Mikayla Whittemore
Desmond Tutu Peace Lab Intern, 2018-2019
Midst the downpour of a Sunday afternoon in Selma, the weather dissipated just long enough for us to record these words infused with urgency and passion from civil rights activist Reverend William Barber. Packed shoulder to shoulder and standing just before the same Edmund Pettus Bridge where nonviolent protesters were terrorized in 1965 on Bloody Sunday, we waited to cross forward.
Today, although the nation has made leaps and bounds in attempt to secure a more egalitarian society, we still find there is much work to be done. The Civil Rights Movement must be maintained and built upon in order to sustain what progress was made. Transgressions against the peace of the people still eerily mirror those enacted in the sixties, with police brutality, voting inequality, and other crimes living on. The Desmond Tutu Peace Lab, an innovative think tank dedicated to undergraduate research, activism, dialogue and advocacy around peace and social justice issues, took to Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham for experiential learning about "sites of conscience" and the memorialization of the Civil Rights Movement.
Visiting three cities filled to the brim with stories from living relics of the past, their descendants, and a dream of equality being forged into the future, we as scholar activists felt compelled to share our findings, as story telling was the dominant mode in which we received our learnings. By doing so, the lab members hope that we can further validate experiential learning as a creative mode to promoting peace and social justice.
Rev William Barber speaker at the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge
Butler University students (Julio Trujillo, Mikayla Whittemore, Cambria Khayat, Joe Killion, Maria De Leon, Ben Martella, Adrrell Mable, Reilly Simmons, Colleen Morrison, Emi Smith, Jackie Jordan, Megan True, Cole Byram, Marla Berggoetz, Corinne Ebner and Roua Daas), Butler Tarkington teens (Jamersin Lewis, Karayjus Perry, and Trinity Perry) representing the Martin Luther King Center, and local community leaders and Butler alumnas, Tabitha Barbour and Allison Luthe participated in the study tour led by Professors Siobhan McEvoy-Levy and Terri Jett (not pictured).