Birmingham Mayor Weighs in on Angela Davis Civil Rights Award Controversy
Birmingham, AL Mayor Randall Woodfin has accused leaders of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute of “poor stewardship” and demanded details of the decision to announce an award and then withdraw it from civil rights icon Angela Davis. Earlier this month, the Institute decided to revoke an award from Davis after the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center drafted a letter to the board of the institute lambasting Davis for her support of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) -- a global campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel until it ends what they call an oppression of Palestinians. The Holocaust Education Center claims that BDS “is troubling” and “targets the Jewish people excessively.” Davis says she was initially confused by the award revocation. “I was informed, that an article had appeared in the magazine Southern Jewish Life that basically detailed some of my activism around Palestinian human rights, for BDS, against some of the policies and practices of the state of Israel,” she said. Woodfin, who serves as an ex-officio member of the board, argues that more discussion and public dialogue should have taken place. “Dialogue should have allowed for the full measure of discussion about the merits of the recognition by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, including supporters and dissenters of some of Dr. Davis’ positions,” the Morehouse grad said. “Because of their poor stewardship, some in the local and national media are misconstruing the crisis of leadership at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute as a clash of cultures, ethnic groups, or races. Let me be clear – it is not.” As for Davis, she says, “It’s actually quite exciting to see the issue of Palestinian justice, justice for Palestine, emerge as a topic of popular discourse. We have attempted for so long to encourage a conversation like this … I’m happy to assist in the process of encouraging more discussion on racism, on anti-Semitism, on justice for Palestine.” More here.