“I am in Birmingham because injustice is here…Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, 1963
Almost sixty years ago, Martin Luther King reminded us that we cannot “sit idly by and not be concerned…” but must “grapple with the underlying causes” of racial injustice. We mourn the loss of life of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Freddie Gray, Eric Gardner and the additional 1,252 Black people who have been shot and killed in our country since January 1, 2015 (Washington Post, Shootings Database). We recognize and condemn the continued brutality and injustices that Black people face daily as a result of racism.
We know that this is not a moment, but just one more entry in a tragic timeline that dates back over four hundred years in America.
In the face of this tragedy, the Alabama Humanities Foundation pledges to provide vital humanities resources to help us find a way forward. Our website and social media provide online resources about the history of racial injustice in America and tools to educate the public about racism today. Programs like Road Scholars and SUPER Teachers share the stories and voices of Black Alabamians living in a historical system of white supremacy and racial oppression. Events like REFLECT Alabama create a safe space for an informed and constructive dialogue about the impact of racism on all of our lives. The next grant round will actively support organizations and communities of color, by prioritizing proposals that address racial injustice.
We are also looking inward to examine the ways in which we do the daily work of the Alabama Humanities Foundation. We are working to diversify our board to be more inclusive of Black and Brown colleagues and organizations. We are examining our programs to make sure they are representative of multiple perspectives and fearless in addressing racism. We are listening more, talking less, and trying to see more clearly.
The Alabama Humanities Foundation is dedicated to bringing people across the state together to contextualize, amplify and strengthen our ability to understand and collectively imagine our mutual destiny. Our goal is to help Alabamians know and understand each other more fully. We stand in solidarity with those who pursue equity, justice and an end to racism.