FPU students undergo civil rights immersion
Nine Franklin Pierce University students and two staff members traveled to Alabama on May 16 to engage in a weeklong service/Civil Rights immersion program, sponsored by the university’s Department of Student Involvement.
Throughout the spring semester, students gathered as a group with the trip advisors, Scott Ansevin-Allen and Derek Scalia, to discuss topics of poverty, Civil Rights, and the life of Keene native and activist Jonathan Daniels.
While in Alabama, the group volunteered for two days with Habitat for Humanity in Montgomery, and for two days of literacy work at the Central Elementary School in Hayneville. The group retraced significant events within the Civil Rights Movement as they walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, visited the site of Jonathan Daniels murder at the Cash Store in Hayneville, walked through Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham and the airfields in Tuskegee, and concluded with a visit to the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery.
To better understand the increasing income inequality in the United States, the group participated in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Challenge for two days.
At the conclusion of the trip, the FPU trip advisors, Ansevin-Allen and Scalia, felt they had achieved their goals of giving participants a better understanding of the importance and significance of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as a greater awareness of significant issues challenging America today. Scalia said, “The trip to Alabama was a moving and powerful experience for all of the participants. I was especially moved in Hayneville, as we retraced the steps of Jonathan Daniels. As a group, we laid a stone from Keene at the site of where Jonathan Daniels was murdered.” Ansevin-Allen reflected, “It was a week of profound growth and understanding for members of the group. The individual journaling and evening discussions we did on the trip not only enhanced the experience, but challenged participants to really think and allow their pre-conceived notions to be vulnerable as they immersed themselves in the experience.”