The week before leaving Florence all I could think about was getting back home: When will I get home already? Then when I got home all I could think about was: when am I going to get back to traveling, seeing the world, experiencing new things, and living life without any cares in the world? That’s when I decided to apply to a program Queens College and the Student Association funds called In the Footsteps of Dr. King, which gives students the opportunity to visit major sites of the Civil Rights Movement and learn about what it means to fight for justice. Here’s a little snippet of what the trip was like:
A general pitch for the program:
In the Footsteps of Dr. King offers a unique opportunity for students to travel to major sites of the civil rights movement. Under the direction of educators who worked with the great civil rights leader, students make a five-day journey through the historic landscape of the movement. The program– scheduled during the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day– features highlights of Dr. King’s quest for racial equality and justice.
The program seeks to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to combat bigotry and intolerance in today’s society. As many people know, Queens College students were active in the civil rights movement, and they were not alone: All over the country, young people mobilized to end segregation and combat racial injustice. Students played a key role in the 1950s and 1960s as they joined marches, sit-ins, boycotts, voter registration drives, and other forms of nonviolent protest and organizing.
In the Footsteps of Dr. King allows students to connect with that struggle in meaningful ways. They meet civil rights veterans, experience iconic sites firsthand, and explore modern-day impacts of the civil rights movement.
- I connected with people on the trip instantly. It’s crazy how quickly people can become so important to you in a matter of days.
- I experienced racism as a white female for the first time in my entire life.
- I washed peoples’ hair with Hosea Feeds the Hungry.
- I met Barbara Williams, a strong activist of the Civil Rights Movement and the daughter of Hosea Williams
- I learned that the fight for social justice is far from being over, especially in terms of basic human rights for people of all races.
- I learned that you need to GIVE A DAMN (to build a dam) . . . is that not the best and cheesiest line you’ve ever heard?
Most importantly: I learned that every day, you need to check your privilege. Who are you? Where did you grow up? What are you complaining about? Do you have a right to complain? Are there others less fortunate? Can you help them.