To begin our trip planning, our team came together to develop several intentions to clearly frame our goals and purpose. They were to:
- Come together in a shared experience to reflect on the legacy of 20th century racism
- Identify parallels to the challenges we are currently confronting in the Bay Area
- Catalyze action among our Northern California philanthropy membership towards long-term investment in a movement to address equity and social injustice
We highly recommend a similar exercise, with the following questions as guides:
- Why are you interested in visiting the South? What is sparking your interest? Why now?
- What do you hope to see and learn? Who do you hope to meet?
- How do you think this relates to and informs your work? What do you hope to do differently when you return?
In addition, we outlined and practiced the following values in the design and execution of our journey. We found it was helpful to have the values as a reference and guide as we decided how best to spend our time, allocate our resources, and enhance our experience.
- Openness - building in unstructured time and gracious space for people to experience the sites and museums individually or in smaller groups.
- Reflection - creating opportunities for personal reflection through writing and structuring group reflection through facilitated conversation and prompts.
- Confidentiality - developing group agreements on use of pictures and social media to protect people’s private experience.
- Equity - supporting local, women, and people-of-color owned businesses when possible.
- Community - engaging and being in conversation with local community members and elders who participated in historical civil rights events.
- Joy - remembering to laugh and enjoy each other’s company, always enhanced with good food and drink.
Finally, there are a few recommendations we’d like to share:
- Connect with your guests before the trip to understand their interests and intentions. We conducted 1:1 calls with each attendee.
- Visiting the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum can be intense and emotional experiences; build in time and create safe spaces for both individual and group reflection.
- We spent about 2 hours at the Memorial and 2 hours at the Museum, in the same afternoon. It is doable but intense, and some guests would have liked more time or another opportunity at the Museum.
- Flying to Montgomery can be challenging with long layovers and very limited direct flights. Birmingham and Atlanta have larger airports that are driving distance from Montgomery and Selma.
- If traveling through Atlanta, be aware that there is a time difference between states! Alabama is on Central Standard Time while Georgia is on Eastern Standard Time.
- Contact restaurants and other establishments in advance if you have any guests with dietary restrictions and/or preferences. We were able to make substitutions and accommodations.