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Posts Tagged ‘ Alicia Skeeter ’

Day 8: To Hope and Forgive

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

By Alicia Skeeter

There have been two actions that I have been examining over the freedom ride: to hope and to forgive. Hope and forgiveness have been exposed to me in real and piercing ways over the freedom ride, the past two days especially. I want to understand these two things and gain a greater perspective on them. This experience is providing me the space to do that.

The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama embodies what it means to hope. When we visited there, this is all I could think: How could the people of the church and community continue to move forward after being bombed and after four of the congregation’s children were murdered? I couldn’t and still don’t understand that strength, that courage to hope. To hope is to say that things are going to get better. I know if I were a part of that church, it would have been very difficult to have those same emotions and same actions.

During our visit we met some church members and listened to the Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir share testimonies and songs of hope and of freedom. In their church, one of their stained glass windows is called the Wales Window. This window is a very powerful piece of art that is a visual expression of what hoping and forgiving really looks like. The Wales Window is a picture of a man with his arms spread wide, one hand pushing away and one hand open, in a receiving position. The hand pushing away is supposed to represent the fight to overcome oppression. The receiving hand is open to welcome forgiveness and love. The 16th Street Baptist Church is hope; the 16th Street Baptist Church is forgiveness.

Another way these actions of hope and forgiveness have been presented in a very real way during this ride was through Jim Zwerg’s talk on nonviolence. He was an original Freedom Rider who was hospitalized because he was beaten so severely, and never returned to the Rides because of his injuries. He has such a gentle spirit. I especially recognized this spirit in the way that he talks – his speech is a reflection on how peaceful he is because he is forgiving. Jim Zwerg is forgiveness. He told us that while people were beating him, he was praying for them and forgiving them. Who does that? How? These are the questions I will continue to ask. I will look to the 16th Street Baptist Church when I need a reminder of what it means to hope. I will look to Jim Zwerg’s story when I forget what it means to truly be forgiving.

Alicia Skeeter: James Farmer Quotes

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Day 6: Alicia Skeeter

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Day 3: Remembering is a Radical Act

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

By Alicia Skeeter

“Remembering is a radical act,” says my fellow freedom rider Carla Orendorff. Remembering means to recall to mind things of the past, whether enjoyable or difficult. When one decides to take this chance, one hopes for feeling happiness and delight but also runs the risk of feeling pain and even guilt. When we look at the injustice about history, that history isn’t fully representative of all peoples of all races, perhaps that is because remembering is something our country doesn’t want to do because it knows that once it looks back, not all of the feelings that will be evoked will be desirable. If America would reflect on everything, not just the select events it chooses, things would make more sense. With all the information accessible to people, solutions to problems and injustices should be able to be found.

Today we talked to the first black mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina, Evon Johnson. She told us that it wasn’t until she got  “baptized in the history of social justice” that she got involved in the movement for change. What if we could have a mass movement of baptisms, a revival of sorts, that allowed people to know history and become involved in the movement and make great changes, like Evon Johnson did? The Student Freedom Ride in a way is acting as this revival, a baptism, a baptism of 40 to become refreshed and passionate to create a just society.

Newseum Event

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Day 1: Alicia Skeeter

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Local Students Retrace 1961 Freedom Ride
By Jackie Loohauis-Bennett

Two local students will be among the bus riders when 40 college students retrace the route of the 1961 Freedom Ride from Washington D. C. to Jackson Miss., on May 6.

Maricela Aguilar of Marquette University and Alicia Skeeter of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will be on the 2011 Freedom Ride, part of an outreach campaign leading up to the May 16 PBS American Experience broadcast of the film “Freedom Riders.” Stanley Nelson’s film retells the story of the civil rights advocates who challenged the tradition of segregated facilities in the American South in 1961. Read more…

Meet the Riders!

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Student Rider: Alicia Skeeter

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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