The Revealing History planning team is grateful to the TUCW community for its support of our program and to all who invited family, friends and colleagues. Nearly 200 people joined us for our inaugural event to learn more about racial injustice through art, photography, music, poetry and our guest speaker.
The program on racial injustice was designed to share truths of our history and illustrate their enduring and personal consequences today, and to show how the idea of racial difference has been embedded in law enforcement and our judicial system.
Slam poet Joan ‘Lyric’ Leslie recited “Daddy’s Fears,” dramatically and pointedly called our attention to how the lives of Black women and girls are also endangered by racism. Her poem also described how Black people, fearing for their lives, must shrink into subordination during encounters with law enforcement.
Our speaker from the Equal Justice Initiative, Elliott Spillers, spoke about the organization and its work. We heard the ways that the judicial system in Alabama, and America’s more broadly, has failed Black and poor people, through inadequate counsel, removal of Black jurors, and judges’ changing a jury’s penalty from life without parole to death. Further, we learned how children as young as 13 had been subjected to the death penalty and can still face life without parole. Mr. Spillers also emphasized how the country’s failure to repent and repair during Reconstruction enabled the lie of Black inferiority to persist and justify discriminatory treatment through the periods of lynching, Jim Crow and now mass incarceration.
The program was complemented by haunting images portraying the conditions on ships carrying Africans to the West and photographs revealing the cruelty and torture of lynching and convict leasing, the latter effectively and legally re-enslaving Black Americans convicted of crimes. Other pieces by African American artists offered a glimpse of the complexity of the Black experience in America, touching on oppression, dehumanization, terror, struggle, strength, pride, resilience and hope. Our program concluded with Andy Gundell’s inspiring song, “Prayer,” featuring the voice of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, calling us to be guided by love and our shared humanity in the struggle for justice and healing.
Call to Action
If you would like to learn more about the historical roots and consequences of racial inequities in the justice system, or take further action, we provide the following resources and activities for your consideration. Please also consider supporting EJI, rated a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator.
Provide Your Feedback
The Revealing History team welcomes your feedback. If you attended the program, please click HERE to take a brief, anonymous survey. Additional attendees from your household are also invited to complete the survey. Your ideas and suggestions will be invaluable as we create future programs in our series that will inform, engage and inspire action.