Transformative is the word I keep coming back to as I describe my experience in Montgomery, Alabama last weekend during our 8th International Conference. Not only was the conference itself memorable with a rich slate of student presentations on Friday morning, to the incredible range of speakers during the People’s Tribunal on Friday afternoon, followed with an inspiring dinner at Martha’s Place, and then finally our day on Saturday where it was simply session after session of critically meaningful work being shared by those in person and those attending virtually. It was Sunday, during the civil rights tour led by Dr. Evelyn Crayton that the experience reached a visceral level. From a visit to the first all-Black university in Tuskegee, a tour of the Equal Justice Institute’s museum and then memorial (from which the photo below was taken), to an impromptu speech by Linda Blackmon Lowery at the foot of the Pettus Bridge in Selma (Linda was a 14-year old participant in the horror of Bloody Sunday); we were transformed. Thank you to everyone who made it possible to be in Montgomery including Danita Stapleton, our conference lead and her amazing team. Thank you to Evelyn Crayton who remained steadfast in her convictions to host Critical Dietetics in Alabama. Thank you to Jill White who brought a bus load of students from Dominican University in Chicago after teaching them a course that culminated in a final presentation at Critical Dietetics, plus organized a most memorable People’s Tribunal. And, thank you to our keynote speaker, Minnie Bruce Pratt who shared her stories and reminded us that the power of words to unlock the memory chambers that embolden us all.
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