That just blew my mind…
It was an often-uttered sentiment on our alternative spring break this past April. In partnership with the UCAE: Student Activities, the Women’s Center led an alternative spring break trip that introduced undergraduates to women activists in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. We were inspired and challenged by women who dedicate their lives to social change through community organizing, performance and visual arts, documentation, popular education, environmental and reproductive justice activism.
Throughout the trip we used art- movement, song, writing, drawing, storytelling- to dive deeper into the motivations and visions of justice expressed by these warriors of compassion. On our long drives we brought with us the voices of historic southern change-makers, discovering how the personal narrative defines voice and action. We created our own media and art that reflected the ever-shifting lens through which we viewed the south and ourselves.
Appropriately, we finished our pilgrimage at the Highlander Education and Research Center, the training grounds for women like Diane Nash and Rosa Parks. As we swayed in our rocking chairs, we considered the trailblazers that had sat in the same room discussing goals and strategies, and struggling with fears and desires. With unified voices, we sang freedom songs- daring each other to leave this experience unchanged.
We are ever grateful to the women who in brief encounters shared themselves with us. Your stories were like pebbles in a pond, creating a ripple effect in our lives and forever altering our ways of being…
We’ll see you again.
Many thanks to all our speakers and community partners for such memorable and rewarding experiences this spring:
Southern Oral History Project at UNC Chapel Hill
North Carolina Folklife Institute
Southerners on New Ground
The Pauli Murray Project
Resourceful Communities Program at the Conservation Fund
Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University
Southern Anti-Racism Network
Feminist Women’s Health Center
Georgia State Library Archives
Highlander Education and Research Center