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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Mission, Values & Vision

Eleven Emmanuel College students participated in the third annual Social Justice Trip over spring break, embarking on an impactful, emotional journey through Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, the heart of the Civil Rights Movement.

Inspired by their commitment to social justice and empowered by the legacy of Civil Rights heroes, students experienced history and gained a deeper understanding of the struggles and triumphs that have shaped our nation.

The March trip, organized by Center of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, included a walk across the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site where Civil Rights marchers were brutally attacked by state police in March 1965 in what is known as Bloody Sunday. 

“Walking across the bridge was a surreal experience because I had seen so many photographs and interviews from Bloody Sunday before attending the trip,” said Brooke White ‘25. “Standing on the very ground where history unfolded added an entirely new dimension to my understanding of the event.” 

Emmanuel College students at civil rights museum

At both the Legacy Museum and Civil Rights Museum, the students were confronted with the harsh realities of America's history of racial injustice. Through powerful exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays, they gained insight into the impact of slavery, segregation, lynchings, and mass incarceration on communities of color.

“The multimedia exhibits, memorials, and the amazing artwork were visually stunning and moving,” said Lola Adebayo '24. “Standing in the same place where Black American history was made and learning about it at the same time helped to put history into perspective and gave me a deeper connection to history."

Isaiah Etienne '27 was similarly moved by his experience at the Legacy Museum. "The museum detailed parts of Black history I was not aware of. They displayed information in many different forms, making it easier to take in all the information. Following the visit, I needed a minute to let the information sink in and process all the information I learned," he said.

The group also visited the Tuskegee Airmen Museum and Tuskegee University, where they learned about the extraordinary contributions of African American aviators during World War II. Impressed by the bravery and perseverance of these trailblazers, students were reminded of the power of resilience in the face of adversity.

“Learning about the Airmen and how they were able to overcome such adversity while they were fighting for the country was fascinating,” said Isaiah Etienne ‘27. “I was awed and inspired that even though they faced challenges, the 332nd Fighter Group is one of the best in history.”

Emmanuel College students Tuskegee Airmen museum

In addition to these renowned institutions, the students also had the opportunity to visit the Rosa Parks Museum and the Mothers of Gynecology Monument, where they learned about the courageous actions of individuals who challenged the status quo and paved the way for progress.

Reflecting on their experience, Fillette Lovaincy, the Director of the Center of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to delve deeper into our nation's history. “Students were greatly appreciative to be on the trip. Many found themselves often saying how they never knew about these things or were taught the short version of history. They were happy to learn more than the surface level.”

“Prior to this journey, my knowledge of the Civil Rights movement in U.S. history was not deep. However, stepping foot in the very places where some of the most pivotal moments occurred provided a profound opportunity to delve into history,” said Gloria Anzures ‘25. “It was a truly impactful experience to witness firsthand the sites where courageous individuals stood up against injustice and to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the struggles and triumphs that have shaped our nation.”

The trip was more than a mere educational excursion—it was a catalyst for personal and collective transformation. As the students immersed themselves in the rich tapestry of Selma and Montgomery, they gained an appreciation for the importance of social justice education.

"This trip was truly a transformative experience for our students, one that aligns with the mission of the college," Lovaincy said. "Knowing how across the nation, DEI education and opportunities are under attack, yet here we are ensuring students are maintaining that education in and outside of the classroom. The students enjoyed it and were soaking in every bit of it."

Students returned to campus with a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to building a more inclusive and equitable future for all.