BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Nearly 60 years ago, four little girls were killed by a bomb that went off inside 16th Street Baptist Church.

This week, the city of Birmingham is remembering that horrific event as well as paying honor to foot soldiers of the civil rights movement through the 2023 Forging Justice Commemoration Week.

Legacy Voices of the Movement Community Conversation was one of several events a part of the week long commemoration that took place Sunday.

No seat was empty inside the Ballard House Sunday as in-person and virtual panelists shared their experiences from the civil rights movement.

Panelist Dianne Robertson Braddock is the sister of Carole Robertson, one of the four little girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

Braddock shared stories about her sister during Sunday’s conversation.

“One of the hurtful things for me is the Sunday after the bomb happened that Monday, she was supposed to march in a football game in marching band and play the clarinet. She was so looking forward to that,” Braddock said.

Braddock says having conversations about the civil rights movement can help change the mindsets of those in the community.

“If you grow up in ignorance and you’re hearing things that your ancestors said, then that needs to be changed, so to talk about it and to be educated about it hopefully will bring progress.”

 The panelist also recognizes that many of the issues they fought for during the 1960’s are issues activists continue to fight for today.

Panelist Jefferson Drew says those issues will only be solved when people work together.

“The strength in our country is in our diversity,” Drew said.  “The more we learn, understand, and engage people who don’t look like us, the stronger we are.”

For more information about the 2023 Forging Justice Commemoration Week click here.