Article and Photo by: Marika N. Johnson
Angela Davis speaks with Imani Perry at Birmingham program
A civil rights icon, Dr. Angela Davis spoke to a sold-out free event in Birmingham on Saturday, February 16, 2019,brought by a grassroots organization, The Birmingham Committee for Truth and Reconciliation. This event communicated her wisdom and words to a community of thousands of varied ethnicities and religious backgrounds.Her former Sunday school teacher anddriving force of the creation of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Odessa Woolfolk, was in attendance, along with Mayor Randall Woodfin and a plethora of other dignitaries. Dr. Davis encouraged activism and brought a message of hope and the trajectory of change.
She also shared her dismay and suprise about the rescinding of the Fred Shuttlesworth award from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The Institute had originally announced that they were to honor the Birmingham, Alabama, native Angela Davis with its annual Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award but then decided that her current beliefs were not congruent with theirs. Reports all indicate the decision was largely, though not exclusively, due to pressure from Jewish individuals and organizations over Davis’s outspokenness on Palestinian human rights and vocal support for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. (BDS) against Israel. Davis told Democracy Now!on January 11, adding that the BCRI’s decision appears to be an effort to sabotage black solidarity with Palestine. “This was not primarily an assault against me as an individual; it was an assault against a whole generation of activists who have come to recognize how important internationalism is,” Davis said.
Dr. Davis ended her hour long talk in a discussion-like forum with Dr. Imani Perry, also from Birmingham and now professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, with encouragement to the youth of today and how it was the young people’s movement in Ferguson that RE-ignited the national and even INTERnational discussion on unfair policing policies. “…sometimes we HAVE to do some things differently!”