Today (January 10), Jewish Voice for Peace released an open letter in solidarity with longtime racial justice activist and scholar Angela Davis. Signed by more than 350 academics, it pushes the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) to reverse its decision to rescind Davis’ Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award.
#AngelaDavis is a tireless advocate for all human rights, a leading civil rights activist and renowned scholar. She is eminently qualified to receive the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award. We call on @bhamcivilrights to walk back their cancelation. https://t.co/O4VbXH2OaE
— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) January 10, 2019
“The canceling of this award by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is unjust, insulting and ill-conceived, especially because it is likely premised on Professor Davis’ long-standing support for Palestinian human rights,” the letter reads. “The decision seems to stem from a misinformed view that to advocate for Palestinian human rights is somehow offensive to the Jewish community.”
BCRI announced on January 5 that it recalled the award and canceled a planned gala after being criticized for honoring the Birmingham-born activist and scholar. “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 statement reads. AL.com reports that three of BCRI’s board members resigned following the decision.
Davis addressed the revocation on Facebook. “I am proud to have worked closely with Jewish organizations and individuals on issues of concern to all of our communities throughout my life,” she wrote. “In many ways, this work has been integral to my growing consciousness regarding the importance of protesting the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”