By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
“A Conversation with Jeffery Robinson, Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” takes place tonight, Wednesday Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham.
The Birmingham Bar Foundation (BBF) is hosting the event.
Robinson is a Deputy Legal Director and the Director of the National American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Trone Center for Justice and Equality.
‘Who We Are’ is a project that teaches about the history of racism in America and, while in Birmingham, Robinson said he will talk about a history that is “largely untold and unknown.”
Robinson, who travels the country with his lecture, said he began to read a lot about our history eight years ago and “found out things that I had never heard before and it really changed my views on a lot of things . . . so I’m going to talk about the history of race that most of us were never taught in school.”
Robinson believes some of his findings will surprise and even shock some. “If you don’t know the true history of race in America, then you have a distorted view of how we got to where we are in 2018,” he said, “and I want to be part of a growing movement that is intent on making sure Americans understand exactly who we are” which is why the presentation is called ‘Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,’” he said.
The conversations are important, especially with recent events such as the shooting death of 21-year-old Emantic Bradford Jr. at the Galleria Mall by a Hoover police officer on Thanksgiving night, Robinson said.
“It puts the lie to the position that we’re in a post-racial world . . . recent events are just demonstrating where we are and how not very far we have come, so I will definitely be addressing the events that have happened in the Birmingham community,” he said.
The conversation is one of several events hosted by the Birmingham Bar Foundation, a non-profit established in 1994. Jennifer Buettner, Executive Director of the Birmingham Bar Association, said she hopes visitors will take away a new understanding of race from the program.
“It looks backward and helps understand the real truth how racism has developed over centuries and centuries in an effort to educate people and make sure we’re on a better path going forward,” she said.
She continued, “We support a lot of legal justice programs. We have a program called ‘Resolve to Solve’ and where volunteers go into Jefferson County Alternative Schools and do a conflict resolution program.”
The group also supports projects at Vulcan Park and Museum, such as their legal justice program, and also brings the Alabama Supreme Court to Birmingham once a year where oral arguments are held in front of high school students. “We give out scholarships to two law students each year,” Buettner said.
Tickets for the event are $40, general admission and $20, student admission and all proceeds will go towards benefiting the BBF. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.