Ohio State sending five representatives for civil rights visit to Alabama

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch
Zed Key smiles during  the Ohio State vs. Penn State men's basketball game Sunday, January 16, 2022 at the Value City Arena in the Schottenstein Center.

Third-year center Zed Key will be one of five Ohio State representatives for one of the first major initiatives created by the Big Ten’s Equality Coalition.

From July 15-17, more than 100 Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 members will participate in a journey to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, for what is described as “an immersive and educational experience” at pivotal sites in the civil rights movement.

Key, along with Jaydan Wood (women’s track & field), Donovan Hewitt (men’s gymnastics), Brooke Shields (cheer) and Nina LaFlore (women’s soccer) will visit Montgomery on Friday night, continue to Selma and then return to Montgomery.

Friday, they will hear from keynote speaker Sheyann Webb-Christburg, author and eyewitness of the Bloody Sunday attack, and view the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize.” Saturday, the group that includes coaches, administrators, conference staff and other stakeholders will visit the First Baptist Church in Selma and march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge before returning to Montgomery to visit other sites of historical significance and hear from Equal Justice Initiative Legacy Museum founder and social justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson.

“We established the Big Life Series to help further prepare our student-athletes to impact the world beyond their athletic careers,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “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.”

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The Big Ten Equality Coalition was created in June, 2020, and announced in an open letter from Warren following the death of George Floyd. It lists its goals as seeking “tangible ways to actively and constructively combat racism and hate around the world while also empowering student-athletes to express their rights to free speech and peaceful protest.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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