Hello out there! Its been a while since I last checked in but don't you fret. I'm bringing you news of celebration from the heart of the right for all American citizens to vote; Selma. Last weekend, I was able to travel down to Selma, AL with Pastor Peter and the Wesley House. Before this trip, I wasn't familiar with that organization but let me first say this, Ms. Becky, the house mother at the Wesley House, is a beautiful soul. I am so thankful to have been able to meet her and allow her spirit to minister to me. I was also glad to meet Pastor Peter who was like meeting a familiar friend that was always there but didn't have a name or face...
Well, enough of that! This journey with this amazing group of people could not be more perfect. This trip was called "Snapshots of the Soul" and with good reason. We were asked to think long and hard about where we were individually and as a people. We were asked what bridges were we crossing and what is holding us back.
For two days, we were totally submersed in a historical walk back in time. We visited the home site of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth as well as Bethel Baptist Church which served as the headquarters to many movements within the civil rights era. As moving as this was, the next site upped the "anty" on emotional disarray. The bombing of 16th Baptist Church really forced America to open its eyes and see the cruelty carried out on its citizens. From there, we saw The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. This had the biggest impact on me because it highlighted things from this era that we rarely see. There were entire cities of African Americans thriving and creating better futures for their children but most importantly, the generations that follow.
After these first three events, our group became a lot more vocal about the issues at hand. I felt like this was a perfect time to ask some questions and get a few reactions from folks. Because I knew that these words, sights and images would trigger everyone in different ways, it was important for me to stay neutral to allow my respondents to feel safe in their emotions. We were all introduced to the notion of having a love that forgives. I asked questions specific to this idea to see if the answers would have similarities.
Being involved with RAPP has given me the tools I needed to take myself out of the equation and be passionate to other peoples ideas. Meeting people where they are is big. It says that we all have the capacity to see beyond ourselves through someone else's lens. I was also glad to bring the knowledge gained from Kingian Non-violence Training. I felt like I was a part of something much greater that the older people already knew and that I was just learning.
To see the places and witness the climate that fueled civil rights is breath taking. Standing in the exact spot commemorating the 50th anniversary of the successful march across the Edmond Pettus Bridge can only be compared to winning a prize that you didn't know you were competing for.
My fellow RAPPer's made this trip unbelievable as well. I felt like we were training all year for the moment to see a piece of living history and stand together. As we crossed the bridge. there were cries of joy and jubilation through the crowd. I was glad to have shared this event with everyone present and in my heart.