BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE (6/22): The city of Birmingham announced that the resolution to rename a portion of 16th Street N to Black Lives Matter Blvd. has been withdrawn.
City Council President William Parker said he made the withdrawal following discussions with local activists, business owners and residents.
“I’ve had many conversations over the last few days with people about ways in which we, as elected officials, can help make a difference in this current movement we’re seeing,” Parker said. “We will be working together with Cara McClure, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, A Group of Movement Voices, area pastors and other community leaders to identify and address policy measures that improve the quality of life in Birmingham.”
The City Council says they are going to be focusing on potential policy changes involving the budgeting process, neighborhood issues and COVID-19 safety measures at the Birmingham City Jail.
“We all understand that this moment demands more than simply renaming a street,” Parker said. “As city leaders, we want to show that we stand in lockstep with the current movement for justice. We are committed to not only honoring the current movement, but also to enacting policies that improve the quality of life for every single resident; policies that instill a sense of confidence in our institutions and prove that we are continuing the mission of those who marched before us.”
ORIGINAL (6/19): The Birmingham City Council will meet next Tuesday to consider renaming a portion of 16th Street North to Black Lives Matter Boulevard.
The resolution is seeking to rename Sixteenth Street North from First Avenue North to Sixth Avenue North as a way to honor the BLM movement and join that with Birmingham’s history of civil rights activism. The street was the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement and the site of one of the most egregious racially-motivated hate crimes in history – the church bombing that killed four little girls and sent shockwaves around the world.
“We want to show the world that Birmingham has been and will remain a beacon of hope in the ongoing fight for justice and equality in this country,” President Parker said. “We have a huge community of activists here and we want to marry our past with the present movement by renaming a portion of this hallowed street.”
This week, volunteers came together to inscribe “Black Lives Matter” on First Avenue South, next to Railroad Park.
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