Sojourn Club Trades Week-Long Trip for Local Excursions

Sheila Teker, Staff Writer

While unable to take part in the official Sojourn to the Past trip due to a lack of singups, the Sojourn Club has discovered other ways to provide similar educational opportunities.

The Sojourn Project’s week-long trip throughout the U.S. South was founded with the aim of teaching high school students about various Civil Rights events.  Club president and senior Nina Naffziger said the trip was canceled “because we only had about 4 people sign up – last year we had 6, and we did go. Hopefully next year the trip will not be canceled, and more people will sign up.”

According to co-president senior Juliette Barlier, the trip’s cancelation was a “major bummer,” as she thought one of the major obstacles was the price of the trip. Barlier added that she is “hoping to raise funds through the club in order to help students pay for the trip next year.”

Still, Naffziger explained that she and members will visit various Bay Area exhibits to satisfy the goal of educating members about discriminatory injustices throughout history.

Members of the Sojourn club visited the De Young Museum for its Art of the Black Power Movement exhibit, Soul of a Nation, in November of last year. It celebrated the art of black artists from the 1960s to ’80s. “Our goal was to look at how the artists used their art to promote empowerment, solidarity, and activism,” said Barlier. Club members designed patches at the exhibit and are now interested in using the design for a mural on campus.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Sojourn Club prepared warm, three-course meals for over 30 homeless adults at the Trinity Center in Walnut Creek on February 27. This was to honor Dr. King’s efforts of standing up to economic inequality.

Members also visited the Presidio’s Exclusion exhibit to see the structure’s role in Japanese Internment during WWII on February 28. Barlier explained, “This field trip helped us better understand what led our leaders to unjustly incarcerate so many Japanese Americans. Using the lessons from that dark part of US history, we’re hoping it will help us better understand how we can address the issues with immigration, mass incarceration, and racism in today’s society.”

Club member Jaclyn Brudzinski said, “I really enjoy these smaller field trips – there’s stuff that we don’t really go deep into in school, so I think they bring the events to more to our reality.”

The club encourages non-members to join in the educational experiences: a Just Mercy movie night in the Campolindo Library is planned for March 26. The movie tells the true story of civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson’s work in freeing wrongly condemned or underrepresented prisoners. Admission to the movie is free, but members hope to raise money through a food bar; profits will be set aside for funding the Sojourn to the Past field trip for interested students next year.

Naffziger said, in regards to these efforts, “I think that it’s important for everybody to become aware that racism is still backed up by the government today, and there is still institutionalized racism, and a lot of people don’t know about that. But it’s important to know about it, because then you can actually do something about it.”