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UTSA students to visit Selma today

Over 40 University of Texas-San Antonio(UTSA) students will visit Selma on Thursday.

The UTSA students are participating in their ninth annual Civil Rights and Social Justice Experience, which takes part at several historic civil rights sites throughout the South.

The group is expected to arrive in Selma late Thursday afternoon following a stop in Louisiana, where students will tour the 18th-century Whitney Plantation and learn “about the forced labor system of a sugar and rice plantation,” and a stop in Jackson, Mississippi to tour the Mississippi Museum of Civil Rights and William Winter Institute.

In Selma, the students will cross over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which was the site of Bloody Sunday in March, 1965. The historic protest march from Selma to Montgomery eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

UTSA Student Leadership Center Interim Director Eliot Howard said the trip provides a deep study of the Civil Rights Movement for the students.

“We’re preparing students for careers and try to develop future leaders,” Howard said. “We take a deep study of leadership through the lens of those stories.”

UTSA Program Manager of the Student Leadership Center Vincent Perez said that the trip is a wonderful educational opportunity for the students.

“Some of the feedback we get from students is that it’s one thing to learn about different parts or moments or sites of the historic civil rights movement, but it’s a completely different thing to go and see them in person and learn about them from people who’ve lived that experience,” Perez said in a press release. “It’s emotionally charged and a very powerful journey to share with our students.”

Students will discuss their trip about the historic Civil Rights Movement at a reflection session at UTSA from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Jan. 27.

“The students will highlight and share their experiences and each of the small groups will kind of present what they learned,” Howard said. “We’ve had students do slideshows or videos. We’ve had some groups do skits that were really powerful and dances. Those are probably some of our favorites. They’re really interactive and really engaging. It’s a really creative way to kind of express the knowledge you’ve gained on a trip.”