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A Journey Together: Visiting the American South

Posted by SVPI

This summer SVPI partnered with SVP Los Angeles to host a Learning Tour for SVP Partners and network colleagues in the American South. Hosting an out-of-town, multi-day program was new to the LA team, so they invited us to co-produce the event with them. 

When SVPI plans an SVP network gathering, we seek to foster learning and growth in a variety of ways: building relationships, connecting to place, examining data, and listening to stories. Social change work requires us to grow emotionally, intellectually, and relationally – both individually, but also in a collective.  As philanthropists, and as those working in social change, there is so much to learn about our shared histories, as well as about the systems and institutions that have created the conditions for today’s challenges.

Montgomery, Alabama is the epicenter of the American Civil Rights movement, but also home to the Equal Justice Initiative, Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Our visit allowed us to connect to the realities of the history of racial terror in the United States, and better understand the connections between that history and present realities of mass incarceration, the school to prison pipeline, and other systems disproportionately impacting people of color in the United States. The 2.5 day trip wove together individual and group experience, with options to see additional sites or take time away from the group to collect one’s thoughts, and allowed space for individuals to connect emotionally to the information, and to each other.

At SVP we believe in the power of showing up, but we also know that we’re not showing up well unless we’re continuing to lean into new areas of growth. Doing the work to shift our power and resources toward equitable community solutions, quickly pushes us into even more exploration. It’s an iterative cycle that builds upon itself. 

If you have the opportunity, we highly recommend a visit to Montgomery, Alabama and these powerful sites for your own education and continued transformation. If you’d like to learn more, let us know so we can continue partnering to plan these kinds of events. Or, if you have an idea for a collaborative event, please send over to us (info@svpi.org). 

To learn more please visit: https://eji.org/

One Comment:

  1. Elizabeth Nolan

    I am an Equity co-lead of SVP Cleveland. Your approach for fostering personal growth is impressive. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky before the Civil Rights Movement, surrounded by white supremacy culture. I am grateful for the opportunity to dedicate myself: time, talent, and treasure to racial justice work. I will get to Montgomery soon.

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