Five Ohio State student-athletes will join more than 100 fellow athletes, coaches and administrators from the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 at a conference-sponsored educational trip to Selma, Ala. and Montgomery, Ala., the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, from July 15-17.
The student-athletes representing Ohio State are women’s track & field’s Jaydan Wood, men’s gymnastics’ Donovan Hewitt, women’s soccer’s Nina LaFlore, cheerleading’s Brooke Shields and men’s basketball’s Zed Key. The trip kicks off the Big Ten’s “Big Life Series”, which aims to prepare the conference’s student-athletes for life after college athletics.
“Our trip to Selma and Montgomery is a first in a series of trips that our student-athletes, administrators, and members of the Big Ten Equality Coalition will take to inspire a meaningful dialogue about racial, social, religious, and cultural injustices in our nation,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a release. “Big Life Series: Selma to Montgomery will empower our Big Ten Conference family to use their voices to drive change in their respective communities.”
The weekend trip will take student-athletes to a variety landmarks from the Civil Rights Movement, including Selma’s First Baptist Church and the Edmund Pettus Bridge. They will also receive the opportunity to hear speeches from notable voices from the Civil Rights Movement and current social justice activists — including author Sheyann Webb-Christburg and lawyer Bryan Stevenson.
Key emphasized his excitement to go on the trip and added that “it will be a good experience for everyone involved” while Shields said she looks forward to “being where history was made” with her peers.
“I am very excited to represent Ohio State in this monumental experience,” Hewitt said in the release. “I hope to learn from experience and take what I learn into the world.”