Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation: Selma, Alabama
Dates: March 21st – March 29th
Group Size: 2 student leaders, 8 participants
The Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation was established near the bridge to address the continued violence and conflicts that still plague Selma and the Nation. The center will use nonviolence and conflict resolution as taught by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as its guiding philosophy as it works to heal and transform violence at the personal, family and community level. The unifying vision of the Selma CNTR is to bring to fruition in Selma, Dr. King’s dream of the Beloved Community, while also functioning as a model for other communities across the U.S. to bring that same vision to life in their local contexts. The Selma CNTR presents workshops, trainings, and symposiums that teach nonviolence and conflict resolution skills, as well as engages the community in a process of truth and reconciliation.
During our time there we will learn about the history of Selma’s racial justice mobilizations and discuss a variety of current social justice issues affecting their community. The Center is committed to transforming and healing the root causes of physical, political, psychological, environmental, economic and racial violence at personal, family, community and systemic levels.
They instruct Dr. King’s legacy includes a six-step strategy for developing a nonviolent campaign.
Step One: Information Gathering: The way you determine the facts, the options for change, and the timing of pressure for raising the issue is a collective process.
Step Two: Education: Is the process of developing articulate leaders, who are knowledgeable about the issues. It is directed toward the community through all forms of media about the real issues and human consequences of an unjust situation.
Step Three: Personal Commitment: Means looking at your internal and external involvement in the nonviolent campaign and preparing yourself for long-term as well as short-term action.
Step Four: Negotiation: Is the art of bringing together your views and those of your opponent to arrive at a just conclusion or clarify the unresolved issues, at which point, the conflict is formalized.
Step Five: Direct Action: Occurs when negotiations have broken down or failed to produce a just response to the contested issues and conditions.
Step Six: Reconciliation: Is the mandatory closing step of a campaign, when the opponents and proponents celebrate the victory and provide joint leadership to implement change.
The group will have opportunities to visit the National Voting Rights Museum with a guided tour and Ancient Africa Enslavement & Civil War Museum. We will also participate in a 4-Hour Conflict Resolution Training conducted by staff at the Center. Our days will be filled with tours of historic sites, activities, service engagement work, and learning in the community.
The group will be travelling in a 12-passenger van from St. Paul to Selma! We will be staying at the Healing Water’s Retreat Center, where the CNTR is housed. The building borders Riverfront Park and overlooks the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The group will do a mix of cooking their own meals, and meals provided by the site during the week. We will also have opportunities to dine at local restaurants!
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” Martin Luther King, Jr.