In June, BMA board member and dedicated patron, Jim Sokol sponsored a BMA staff trip to Montgomery to give employees the opportunity to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The day-long excursion proved to be a transformative experience for many of our staff. Here’s what a few staff members had to say about their visit:
Regina Ray, Security Officer: This was a wonderful self-guided tour. There was so much information written and verbalized that made this trip a visceral experience. The memorial columns with all the names of slaves that had been lynched was overwhelming and actually brought tears to my eyes. Some words that best describe this trip are: Amazing, Moving, Humbling, Powerful, Emotional, Impressing, Depressing; but really it was a real historical moment for me.
J.R. Feagins, Chief of Museum Security: This experience was more than I expected. I did not know until I arrived at the Legacy Museum how I would receive the past; a past that only lived in the back of my mind. Upon arrival, there was fear and excitement at the same time. Fear for the fact of not knowing how I would react, and excitement for the fact that recognition was given to so many wrongs and atrocities committed through ignorance. The healing continues through acceptance. In the great words of Helen Keller “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Jestina Howard, Special Events Manager: I visited the Legacy Museum for the first time in May 2018, but I didn’t get a chance to take it all in. It was a very busy day so I couldn’t check out a lot of the information. I’m glad I got the opportunity to go back with the BMA staff and take my time to really immerse myself in the information, photographs and videos. Although the information was somewhat disturbing to me, it was still very enlightening. The new Peace & Justice Memorial Center is wonderful as well. I love that they now have an educational theatre for presentations and a really nice gift shop. Taking this trip with my co-workers was fun and gave us an opportunity to learn, reflect, and fellowship with one another. I hope we get to do more things like this in the future.
Jim Sokol: What an honor for me to have been able to share this moving experience with staff friends at the BMA!