Following the decision of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to strip Angela Davis of the 2018 Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, the Birmingham City Council recently approved a resolution to still recognize the importance of her work.
Davis, a world-renowned scholar, author and activist, was born in the Alabama city. She has spent most of her life actively rallying and protesting inequity, white supremacy and injustice, a more than worthy recipient of the Institute’s highest honor. The Institute, however, released a statement rescinding the honor a month before she was due to accept it.
Information on why the museum and research center made the decision has not been released, prompting Davis and others to believe it was because of her support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is an economic boycott of Israel until the nation ends its occupation of Palestine.
“The rescinding of this invitation and the cancellation of the event where I was scheduled to speak was thus not primarily an attack against me but rather against the very spirit of the indivisibility of justice,” she said. “I support Palestinian political prisoners just as I support current political prisoners in the Basque Country, in Catalunya, in India, and in other parts of the world.”
Despite the Institute’s choice, Birmingham City Councilman Steven Hoyt proposed a resolution to recognize Davis’ contributions to the fight for justice and equity.
“We have former presidents who owned slaves, and yet do we not honor them as founding fathers of the United States of America?” he said. “…I think it’s embarrassing that you would judge a person by a segment of their life.”
As Blavity reported, Davis will still travel to Birmingham to speak at another civil rights event.
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