This week, 43 university students from the United States began a 10-day trip to Ghana as participants in the inaugural Amos C. Brown Fellowship.
The trip comes one year after Church President Russell M. Nelson announced the Church would create the fellowship with an initial donation of $250,000 to help students learn about the cultural heritage of Ghana. The fellowship is named for Reverend Dr. Amos C. Brown of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, who has become a good friend of President Nelson. The two have collaborated on projects between the Church and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Before leaving on the trip, the students met with Rev. Dr. Brown and other leaders who will be with them in Ghana.
“With God, we are never checkmated,” Rev. Dr. Brown said to the group as they prepared to leave.
Though the fellowship is named after him, Rev. Dr. Brown said the trip is not about him.
“To all of our fellowship students, and to our leaders and anybody else who has any part of this, as we connect hearts, get out of our comfort zone just a little bit, we’re going to have an even more amazing experience,” Elder Nielsen said to the group.
According to a release from the NAACP, the students participating will have opportunities to learn about their ancestral heritage and learn about the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The students selected are from New York, Georgia, California, Michigan, Utah and Texas.
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, is also with the group and said this fellowship is the kind of cultural experience that the NAACP is committed to leading in the future. Johnson’s remarks came just days after the organization’s annual national convention took place in New Jersey.
Three years ago, President Nelson spoke at the 2019 national convention. At that time, he talked about the importance of recognizing similarities between groups instead of focusing on their differences.
“The things that we have in common are much more important than the differences that we may have,” he said in an interview with Church News at the time.
Carter Martindale, a Latter-day Saint attending Harvard University, is one of the 43 students on the trip.
“I think the purpose of the fellowship of talking about how we can address better [the] racial divides, how we can better love our neighbor as we ourselves is really important,” Martindale said.