Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Emotions Run High in Selma

Today we visited Selma, Alabama. Although I've been to this city on the pilgrimage before, there were a few things that were different this time around than when I went in spring of 2011. The first thing that I'd like to address is the slavery reenactment. I don't think there are sufficient words to describe the incredible emotions I felt as Afriye led us through this experience. As we were led into and through the building having our peers yell at us to help them and being able to do absolutely nothing about it was one of the scariest and worst feelings in the entire world. I had thoughts of stepping up and taking a stand but then I would think about the fact that if I did so she might not only hurt me, but the people I was trying to help. This forced me to stay complacent and do whatever she told us to do. Now I know this may sound silly to those of you who were not actually on the reenactment with us, but it felt so real while it was happening. I couldn't help myself from shedding a more than a few tears throughout and letting my emotions run wild. It made me learn that there is nothing we can do to change the past. The past happened and however awful it was, there's nothing we can do to change that fact. What we can do in the here and now is make absolute positive that it will never ever happen again. We must make sure that history does not repeat itself because although there is no longer slavery there was back before the 13th amendment, there is still racism in almost all aspects of society and certainly all across the United States. It is important that we treat what happened during slavery as a learning experience to ensure that nothing of that magnitude ever happens within our country's borders, or the world for that matter, again.

Another thing that I would like to take a minute to talk about is Miss Joann Bland. She took us around the city of Selma today and showed us all of the historical landmarks as well as gave us her account of what happened on Bloody Sunday right here in Selma. Watching videos and reading books about a historical event is one thing, but being able to hear a personal account of what happened and interacting with her brings an entirely different experience with it. Miss Bland is so knowledgeable about all aspects of the moment and she is so fun to talk to and so willing to answer all of our questions.

All in all, Selma, Alabama has once again made a huge impact on my life. What I have been able to experience here in Selma today has not only opened my eyes to many of the problems of our society, it has absolutely inspired me to take a stand and try to make a change!!!!!

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