Living Democracy

Happy Birthday, Alabama

Group at the workshopIn 2019, Alabama will turn 200 years old. It’s an event to be celebrated and an opportunity to spark a conversation about the history and culture of our state.

Between the years of 2017 and 2019, the Alabama 200 organization aims to support, create and execute events and activities that commemorate the stories of the people, place, and path to statehood.

They plan on doing this by engaging Alabama residents and visitors in educational programs, community activities and statewide initiatives that teach, inspire and entertain.

One such activity was the ALABAMA 200 Millennial Mixer held at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery June 2.

The objective of the meeting was to create a network of passionate, young Alabamians who could motivate each other and use the occasion of Alabama turning 200 to promote the culture and wellbeing of young people in the state.

The Millennial Mixer attracted 20 young adults from all over Alabama.  Participants focused on coming up with ideas about how to engage the adolescent to young adult age population. Conversations were prompted by the question: “What do young people in our communities want?” 

Desk at the workshop“Telling the untold story” was a popular topic during the discussions. The group wanted to represent Alabama in a way that people will relate to in new ways of thinking about the history of the state. Some expressed the desire to incorporate and celebrate the culture and history of minorities and immigrants.  

Collaborating with each other and discussing possibilities with like-minded people was an effective way to get ideas rolling. Some suggested sponsoring plays and music festivals. Others suggested getting college campuses in Alabama directly involved through clubs and campus organizations.

In addition to helping spark a conversation, the people in attendance were encouraged to continue their work in community involvement and educating society.

Auburn University graduate Richard Trammell, the art program director for a grassroots organization named Camp Star in Camp Hill, was at the meeting. When reflecting on the ALABAMA 200 Millennial Mixer, he said, “As a young adult who’s involved in the community, I know it’s not always easy to remember that there are other young adults who care. I’ve enjoyed hearing from you all.”

The 3 LD fellows at the workshopEmily Vick, a 2017 Auburn University’s Living Democracy Fellow, agreed with Trammell, saying, “It made me feel like I am not alone in my efforts to make Alabama better.”

The next step is to put together a proposal about the ideas discussed to be presented to Alabama 200 leaders. The organization plans to partner with social media outlets and spread the word about upcoming birthday celebration activities and events, including a possible second meeting for young adults.

The vision of ALABAMA 200 is for Alabamians and visitors to walk hand in hand into the future, with history as their guide. The June mixer provided just that opportunity.

Learn more about ALABAMA 200 and how to get involved at www.alabama200.org.

By Whitney Sutton
Last Updated: June 09, 2017