BCRI reverses decision, reaffirms award for controversial activist Angela Y. Davis

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In an attempt to right what they are now calling a wrong, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) is reversing a recent decision they made to rescind an award for controversial, political activist Angela Davis.

That latest move comes in the wake of public outcry over the BRCI’s decision to rescind the award following complaints from the Jewish community.

On Jan. 14, the BCRI issued a public apology to Davis for “its missteps in conferring, then rescinding, its nomination” of her for the BCRI’s 2018 Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award.

Immediately after that public apology, the Board voted to reaffirm Dr. Davis as the recipient.

“Dr. Angela Davis, a daughter of Birmingham, is highly regarded throughout the world as a human rights activist,” said BCRI President and CEO Andrea L. Taylor. “In fact, the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study acquired her personal archives in 2018, recognizing her significance in the movement for human rights, her involvement in raising issues of feminism, as well as her leadership in the campaign against mass incarceration. Her credentials in championing human rights are noteworthy,” she said.

Reverend Thomas L. Wilder, interim BCRI Board Chair, said “at the end of the day, we stand for open and honest dialogue on issues. It is only through our ability to talk openly and honestly with one another that we can achieve true understanding and appreciation for one another’s perspectives. We look forward to continuing the Institute’s legacy as we foster dialogue and open communications, improve our Board governance and policies, and stay focused on our Vision 2020 strategic plan.”

BCRI’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan

Wilder said that BCRI’s Vision 2020 strategic plan is based on four guiding goals:

  1. To accelerate the reach of the Institute by doubling the number of visitors by 2020, by building greater awareness, and by attracting significantly larger audiences, year over year;
  2. To promote the success of the newly designated Civil Rights National Monument;
  3. To facilitate superb programming that optimizes the Institute’s own educational, curatorial and archival assets; and,
  4. To build a healthy, adaptive and sustainable institution that is both financially self-sufficient and nationally significant.

“We ask everyone to partner with us to rebuild trust in the Institute and its important work,” Wilder said.

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