ACC Traveling to Alabama for Transformational and Educational Experience on Social Justice
GREENSBORO, NC (theacc.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today that 48 student-athletes and administrators from all 15 league institutions will be part of a delegation traveling to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. The experience is set to take place from July 15-17 and include an immersive journey to one of the centers of the civil rights movement. The group will participate in a variety of activities highlighted by a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of the 1965 Bloody Sunday attack.
The initiative, conducted in collaboration with the Big Ten and Pac-12, is part of the ACC’s commitment to supporting student-athletes through meaningful educational opportunities, including the area of social justice. The trip is part of the league’s social-justice platform, ACC UNITE. Miami will be represented by student-athletes Alyssa Bacchus (rowing) and Jalen Gordon (men’s track and field).
“This weekend’s event will be incredibly powerful and meaningful for all that are able to attend, and we know the experience will be shared with their peers when they return to their respective campuses,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “As a conference, we continue to be proud of the ongoing work in this critical area and we remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, now and in the future.”
The social justice experience will begin Friday night in Montgomery with Sheyann Webb-Christburg – author and an in-person eyewitness of the original Bloody Sunday attack – serving as the keynote speaker. The trip continues Saturday in Selma at the First Baptist Church, the headquarters for the Dallas County Voters League, which was the student nonviolent coordination committee. The church earned the name, “The Movement Church,” and is where hundreds of students began their days’ long journey from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. The trip will continue with a march across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge before the group returns to Montgomery to visit a series of landmarks, museums, and learning centers.
In Montgomery, the group will visit the Interpretive Center at Alabama State University, a historically Black University (HBCU), to learn more about the profound impact that students had on the civil rights movement. The group will also spend time at the Civil Rights Memorial Center, the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and the award-winning Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) Legacy Museum, which provides a comprehensive overview of America’s history of racial injustice – from enslavement to mass incarceration.
On Saturday evening, EJI Legacy Museum founder and social justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson will address the group. Following his address, campus diversity, equity, and inclusion directors will lead small group debrief sessions with the student-athletes to discuss the Selma to Montgomery experience.
All 15 ACC schools will have conducted a series of introductory virtual meetings prior to traveling to Alabama to discuss the purpose of the trip and to prepare for their experience. Upon returning to campus after the trip, the ACC office will provide tools and opportunities for each attendee to convey their experiences about the trip to their peers.
ACC UNITE is part of the ACC’s Committee for Racial and Social Justice (CORE – Champions of Racial Equity) C.O.R.E was created in June 2020 to support the ACC’s commitment to social justice and racial equity. Members of C.O.R.E. include conference office staff members and campus representatives from each of the league’s 15 institutions. C.O.R.E.’s mission is to promote and encourage inclusion, racial equity and social justice through education, partnerships, engagement and advocacy.