Six Member Programs Travel to Alabama to Watch the World Games and Visit Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma

Twenty-nine students from six SEA member programs traveled to Alabama in July to attend the World Games and visit landmarks in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma.

Held every four years, the World Games brings together athletes from roughly 100 countries for competition in 34 sports, including squash. With the Games taking place in the epicenter of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, SEA had a unique opportunity to expose students to incredible squash as well as important sites from our country’s history.

With support from an anonymous donor and the World Squash Federation, SEA provided six member programs with a grant of $3,500 for the trip as well as tickets to the World Games matches. Students and staff from San Diego’s Access Youth Academy, New York’s CitySquash, Charleston’s Kids on Point, Chicago’s MetroSquash, Connecticut’s Squash Haven, and Philadelphia’s SquashSmarts took part.

“When SEA presented us with the opportunity to participate in such a once in a lifetime experience, we immediately seized the opportunity, as we knew it could be an enriching and empowering experience for our students,” says Squash Haven’s Director of College Access and Persistence Christian Aviles, who attended with students from the New Haven program.

Participants on the trip met world class squash players such as Tinne Gilis, Victor Crouin, Miguel Rodriguez, and Dimitri Steinmann and visited the Equal Justice Initiative, National Memorial for Peace and Justice, The Legacy Museum, The Negro Southern League Museum, and The Center for Civil and Human Rights, among other places.

CitySquash Director of High School Academics Giustina Charbonneau was particularly excited about the the opportunity to visit Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, as her students had already been reading Stevenson’s book Just Mercy. “Over the course of the year, we have been able to have meaningful conversations about race, racism, the criminal justice system, and what it means to both give and receive mercy,” says Charbonneau. “The opportunity for students to visit Alabama and see the Equal Justice Initiative’s office for themselves contextualizes the book and all of the EJI’s work on an even deeper level.”

SEA is grateful to have had the opportunity to connect our students with important U.S. historical sites as well as the global squash community.