The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Changes Its Mind About Honoring Angela Davis ... Again
Make up your mind, BCRI.
January 26, 2019 at 1:24 am
An Alabama civil rights museum has decided once again to honor Angela Davis weeks after rescinding the award it planned to bestow on her over her support for Palestine.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) announced its decision on Friday morning, according to AL.com.
"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 a press release. “Her credentials in championing human rights are noteworthy."
So noteworthy the BCRI added in the statement, "In keeping with its commitment to learning from its mistakes and in order to stay true to the BCRI’s founding mission, the Board voted to reaffirm Dr. Davis as the recipient. Dr. Davis was immediately thereafter personally invited to reaccept the award."
As Blavity previously reported, Davis was supposed to receive The Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award on February 16. However, the BCRI changed its mind in light of her support of the Palestinian struggle against Israel.
"Upon closer examination of Ms. Davis' statements and public record, we concluded that she, unfortunately, does not meet all of the criteria on which the award is based," the BCRI said in a January 5 statement.
The former Black Panther expressed her disappointment in the decision on her Facebook page.
“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 wrote at the time, while also explaining her stance on Palestine as part of a global struggle for civil rights.
"I have devoted much of my own activism to international solidarity and, specifically, to linking struggles in other parts of the world to U.S. grassroots campaigns against police violence, the prison industrial complex and racism, more broadly," Davis wrote.
The BCRI's decision to revoke the award outraged Davis’ admirers and prompted the Birmingham City County to pass a resolution to highlight the activist’s work, as Blavity reported.
“We have former presidents who owned slaves, and yet do we not honor them as founding fathers of the United States of America?” City Councilman Steven Hoyt said two weeks ago. “I think it’s embarrassing that you would judge a person by a segment of their life.”
The drama also resulted in the resignation of three BCRI board members, according to WVTM. The board now apologizes for the mishap.
“Each member of the Board of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute deeply regrets the impact that the handling of the Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award has had on Dr. Angela Davis, the city of Birmingham, and many others who have been impacted by our handling of the award,” the board said in a January 14 statement. “We are sorry.”
Davis has not responded to being re-awarded the Shuttlesworth honor and has not said whether she will attend the award ceremony. The BCRI said it "respects her privacy and timing in whatever her response may ultimately be.”
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