Matt Dekonty
Student Writer

Messiah continued its remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. as a group of various college faculty and students held a panel in Parmer Cinema on Wednesday evening to discuss their experiences with the Civil Rights Bus Tour.

The tour is a trip designed to engage participants in the history of the Civil Rights movement, as well as to visit many famous historical spots and to learn about their significance.

Panel members discussed matters of diversity. PC: Matt Dekonty

“Coming to terms with the weight of this history is very important,” said Bernardo Michael, a history professor at Messiah College who went on the tour himself. “What if all of us went on this journey? It would change the institution,” he said. Michael also added that he felt a strong connection between his spiritual pilgrimage as a Christian and the physical pilgrimage of the tour.

The members of the panel described their experiences discussing race, as well as discussing other subjects such as the similarities between the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements. They also talked about how their experiences on the tour made them feel much more equipped to discuss these events and to move past the initial discomfort they may have felt when touching on such issues in a heavily polarized political climate.

Michael talks about the Civil Rights Bus Tour. PC: Matt Dekonty

Tiffany Burrows, an admissions counselor, described some of the practices held by majority black colleges in the areas visited on the tour. Burrows commented on how drastically different they were from the experience of admissions she was used to at Messiah.

Todd Allen, Provost of Diversity Affairs, hosted the event, in addition to a Q&A with Juanita Abernathy, a Civil Rights freedom fighter and friend of Martin Luther King Jr.