For Freedoms Town Hall Recap

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“For Freedoms: Civil Rights and Human Rights” asks visitors to consider who has access to the four universal civil rights outlined in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 “For Freedoms” speech. The response wall encourages visitors to share about the freedoms they value and would fight to keep.

Last month, the Museum hosted a group of student activists from multiple Jefferson county high schools for a town hall program inspired by the BMA’s current exhibition For Freedoms: Civil Rights and Human Rights. Poised, thoughtful, and passionate, the students discussed their views on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”— the freedoms of speech and worship, and the freedoms from want and fear. Audience members sat in awe of the young, empowered students, who engage these rights daily and continually encourage their peers to do the same.

One by one, the students presented speeches on each individual freedom, making connections to personal experiences. During the panel discussion that followed, they encouraged audience members to exercise their right to vote. The students are not yet of voting age, so they use their voices as student activists to speak out openly against injustice and to inspire other students to do the same. In their own words, they fight and “struggle for freedom” everyday.

“For Freedoms: Civil Rights and Human Rights” asks visitors to consider who has access to the four universal civil rights outlined in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 “For Freedoms” speech. The response wall encourages visitors to share about the freedoms they value and would fight to keep.

At the conclusion of the panel discussion, the students encouraged the audience to respect  younger voices and to continue to create settings for them to be heard. One student asked for the occasional seat at the head table, rather than the kids’ table. They urged those of voting age to take advantage of their freedom to vote in order to make a difference. With election day upon us, we hope you will be inspired to do just that.

For Freedoms: Civil Rights and Human Rights is made possible by the City of Birmingham. The exhibition will be on view through November 18, 2018.