Compiled by Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times
Birmingham, known as a cradle of civil rights history, today still contains numerous strong voices pushing for change locally and across the country. Within the activist community are those fighting for environmental justice, justice system reform and better connectivity among communities, among other issues. But these individuals all have one thing in common—improved quality of life for all.
Name: Eric Hall
Organization: Black Lives Matter Birmingham, Jobs with Justice
Your passion: Human rights
What does a better Birmingham look like: “A city where Black lives truly matter. I think we need beyond just merely saying that, but our policies, our actions, need to reflect that, and I’ve said a lot of times that we have Black leadership, and we have people in places and positions of power that can really kind of push things to where it can kind of change the dynamics that overall Black Birmingham faces, but we have a huge divide in our city, and we can’t ignore race. Race does matter. And so I think that we need to really kind of shift policies in place that really will be beneficial to the majority of the city.”
How do we curb homicides in the city: “We need more investment in our community. Based off of what I know from being connected…to the streets, a lot of the younger guys who are committing acts of violence, engaging in violent crime, there are some other issues that exist. A lot of those issues are due to lack of resources, not being able to be gainfully employed, sustaining employment, so I feel like if those guys had other opportunities available, then I don’t think that they will position themselves to wanting to get into illegal activity, whether it’s selling drugs, or whether it’s robbing, if in fact, they had a livable wage and were able to sustain themselves and a family.
“I think we need to invest more in people and develop real, relevant relationships with the residents. A lot of our leaders are out of touch, just to be honest, so they have to be very strategic and intentional with the resources in the city.”
Favorite quote/Words you live by: “Black lives matter. It’s more than an organization, it’s more than a rallying cry. It’s more than an affirmation for Black lives. It’s so much more, and it really means a lot…my commitment, my value, my everything centers that, that Black lives matter.”