The nation and the world continue to reel from the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and with it a new awakening. Protestors around the country have taken to the streets to object and to demand and to crush the injustices of racism. It is an echo of a familiar past in Birmingham, Alabama.
Birmingham was Ground Zero in America’s Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It was then, and is again, a battle for equality and the civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. It was marked by police dogs and fire hoses and jail cells on one side and the resolute certainty of a better tomorrow on the other.
The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau recognizes the importance of the work of those brave “Foot Soldiers.” The injustices were obvious, and the Foot Soldiers were the core of the Birmingham campaign. Now, new soldiers are out on the line in personal protest to change the conscience of America. Birmingham, of all cities, will and should be forever in an international spotlight that shines more brightly on us because of our history.
It is our mission at the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau to generate economic development through travel to Jefferson County. Millions of visitors come to our city each year for conventions, on business travel, or simply to visit the sites where protestors of the 1960s changed the world. But this is a new world, and the peaceful protests of today are equally important if we are to keep the momentum of that era. We are here to welcome the world and to keep our eyes open to human injustices.
In his Letter from Birmingham Jail written in April 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” These are words that hold strong in the current climate. Today’s protestors, just as our Founding Fathers did, have the vision and desire for equality promised in the Declaration of Independence that “…all men are created equal….”
The leadership of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau is committed to supporting the important work of eliminating brutality and racism, to improving our society, and to countering racial inequities.