Pilgrimage to Alabama and the Equal Justice Initiative

Categories: EDS at Union

Image from the National Legacy Museum - shows a wall with the quote "For the hanged and beaten. For the shot, drowned, and burned. For the tortured, tormented, and terrorized. For the abandoned by the rule of law. We will remember. With hope because hopelessness is the enemy of justice. With courage because peace requires bravery. With persistence because justice is a constant struggle. With faith because we shall overcome."Episcopal Divinity School at Union and The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest will make a pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama from Wednesday, June 19 through Saturday, June 22, to visit the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Established by the Equal Justice Initiative, these sites are our nation’s first memorials dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, those terrorized by lynching and Jim Crow segregation, and the ongoing threat of police violence and mass incarceration to African American men and women.

Pilgrimages are practiced in many religious traditions and are typically made to shrines, holy places, or locations of religious significance. “At EDS and Union, we have decided it is equally important to travel to sacred places where we must confront injustice and better understand the crucifying realities of the most vulnerable of God’s children, indeed this Pilgrimage reflects the sacred story of a people” said The Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of EDS at Union. “This pilgrimage to Alabama will help our students grapple with the challenges happening in our society, and inform us of how as a people of  faith we can help build a just world.”

In addition to the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial, EDS at Union students will tour Selma, Alabama, visit the Jonathan Myrick Daniels Memorial, participate in nightly compline, and join the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church for Eucharist.

“I came to EDS at Union because I wanted and needed to be spiritually formed in a community where the work of justice was not an afterthought; it’s simply a fuller expression of the daily discipline of transformation we are practicing at this institution,” said Carl Adair, EDS at Union student. “It’s a grace to make this pilgrimage and to honestly confront the horrific violence and insidious institutions of white supremacy, to tell this history within God’s greater story of liberation, healing, and reconciliation, and to be leaders among people of God who help make that story ever more real.

EDS at Union Student Grace Aheron added, “I am thrilled at the prospect of visiting the Equal Justice Initiative Museum and Memorial as a place that is actively rewriting and re-imaging history and present in our U.S. American context.”

Follow EDS at Union on Twitter and Facebook to see posts from our trip, and tune in on Friday, June 21st at 2:20 EST for a Facebook Live conversation about this pilgrimage. Dean Douglas will facilitate a live conversation among students and church leaders on why EDS at Union has made this pilgrimage and will answer your questions in the comments about the learnings on the trip. Watch by visiting EDS at Union’s Facebook page.