Alabama Odyssey 2019: Day 1

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We Fly
Meet with Reverend Thomas Wilder and Dr. Martha Bouyer
at the Historic Bethel Baptist Church.
Dinner catered at the new Bethel Baptist Church
Retire to YMCA Hargis Retreat Center

My focus and perception of my surrounding has changed and I am now noticing every detail that sticks out from the white travelers and black staff (at the airport) to how we have been treated so far. I am extremely ready for the focus I am to give on this trip and so excited for what is to come.

When I handed Dr. Martha Bouyer the syrup and thanked her, she just gave me a big hug. I can’t really describe what I felt in that moment, but I kind of feel like our thoughts and emotions passed to each other in that second. It is amazing how much a hug can do.

During the singing at the old Bethel Baptist Church, I was overcome with emotion. I don’t know exactly what I was feeling and how to process it. It felt like coming to Alabama, just being here after all our class has done to prepare, was important. Like there was a purpose for me being here in all my youth and whiteness.

The most profound thing is being at historical Bethel Baptist Church and seeing the place where Reverend Shuttlesworth fought for civil rights. Standing at the pulpit was just amazing even if I was a bit nervous.

It’s all been very surreal. From driving around the neighborhoods to talking to the folks inhabiting them, it seems like my privilege is ever present. Questions like why is our community not donating to such poverty-plagued societies, how am I contributing to this? When will equality in our races finally be acknowledged?

As I reflected about today, I noticed how different it was inside versus outside the church (Bethel Baptist). Inside it felt like history, a safe haven to escape. Outside I saw a different history, the story of segregation, the history of the marches to freedom.
Singing at Historic Bethe Baptist Church