CS2, 002: "I walked in the steps of MLK"

The Communal Study

Season Two, 002: I walked in the steps of MLK

(I, being not Roger)

Last week, 13 people from my church went on an MLK/civil rights pilgrimage within the states of Alabama and Georgia. The intention was not only to relearn the often watered-down or misrepresented history of black people in America, but to walk the streets and sit in the homes of true peacemakers, and their communities, whose decisions have shaped the social landscape of America.

Throughout this trip, I experienced stories of black history (that I’ve mostly only read about) in a new, transformative way. Walking through the Legacy Museum, specifically, was equal parts breathtaking, informative, and immersive. To all my friends who’ve asked about the trip, I’ve explained it as a museum cosplaying an art exhibit. I'd tell anyone to visit just for the visuals; I've never witnessed anything like it. Yet, somehow, the narrative managed to overshadow even that. The museum walks you through the experience of black people from their abduction to 2020. Personalized stories collected here vividly depict the nuances of daily life, filling in gaps that dates, names, and vague summaries often miss. I’ll leave you with that because I believe everyone should experience it themselves.

Exploring stories about the inherent responsibility and unity within communities was encouraging. The communities provided the backbone of support, solidarity, and shared purpose necessary to challenge the ingrained systemic injustices. Without the collective resilience of countless individuals rallying together, this transformative era in history may never have happened. This confirmed to me the indispensable role that community plays in driving forward progress, fostering empathy, and cultivating healthier relationships within society. I got to witness this ideal of community played out through a friend group of some older people on the trip, giving me hope for what the community I build today can look like in the future: collective, stimulating, sometimes unserious, fortifying. There is an underlying fear that community, specifically the enjoyment of community, peaks in your younger years; however, that notion was challenged by the camaraderie shared with these individuals, reaffirming the enduring bond of community across generations.

Listening to Ayodeji describe his trip, I reflected on how community isn't just important for making you less lonely. Community is powerful and can inspire change in history. It is important to learn about all the different types of communities around the world and the ones that shaped the country we live in. So many of these communities are not brought to the spotlight and it’s important to have a place where you can go and experience them forever. On the flip side, it is also just fun. Community can last decades and sustain you through different life experiences. You can learn and grow alongside one another. I was thinking about how Mark, the organizer of the trip, had already been on the trip. He was so impacted that he wanted more people, and specifically his best friends to come experience as well. Ayodeji said the same thing when he got back from the trip, that he wanted his friends to experience the trip as well. There will probably be many trips to come because all the friends wanting their other friends to experience what they did. Community can look like friends sharing paper planes at dinner but it can also look like pushing one another to learn about something they never would have before. In my experience, when I’m getting drinks with a friend I’m always learning and when I'm learning about something with a friend I'm always laughing. I think that summarizes how investing in community can be such a positive force in your life.

“THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK”

Ayodeji:

  1. This video about being led by curiosity

  2. ACL lineup

  3. Why nonviolent protesting works

  4. “I’m working late, cuz I’m a singerrrr”

  5. Being a better swimmer (hit me up if you can teach me fr)

Roger:

  1. Volleyball

  2. Chill drinks w friends

  3. Big farming

  4. Dying trades

  5. People moving away

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