Opening Minds, Changing the Future

 Opening Minds, Changing the Future
Chris Brown

Brewster’s Dean of DEI, Chris Brown, who helped chaperone the 2024 Interim Studies trip “Brewster Goes to Birmingham,” shares an overview of the experience and invites you to watch a video that spotlights the remarkable—and vital—impact that this trip had on our students’ perspectives.

In Birmingham, Alabama, 11 Brewster students embarked on a journey through history that transcended mere education, immersing themselves in the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. From the poignant echoes of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches to the hallowed grounds of the 16th Street Baptist Church, each step they took was imbued with the weight of the past and the resilience of those who fought for justice. Through immersive experiences like walking the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and participating in discussions with local activists, these students didn’t just learn about history—they lived it. As they listened to the stories of foot soldiers and Freedom Riders, their understanding deepened, their empathy expanded, and their commitment to social justice grew stronger.

Empowered by the lessons of the past, these 11 students returned home with a renewed sense of purpose and determination. They recognized the importance of their voices in shaping a more equitable future and felt empowered to advocate for change in their own communities. The bonds forged during their time in Birmingham, woven from shared experiences and a shared commitment to justice, continued to strengthen as they supported each other in their activism. With hearts full of hope and minds enlightened by history, these students became ambassadors of progress, carrying forward the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement into the challenges of today.

Listen to their emotional reflections on how much their perspective changed–and what they want to do with their newfound knowledge–in the video below.