2018 CRSJ Fall Section Council Meeting
Section Leadership Commentary
As an African-American civil rights attorney, I am well aware of the past and present adversities surrounding race and injustice in this country. My visit to the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice with my CRSJ colleagues highlighted how the legacy of slavery and lynching is embedded in my DNA; it actually shapes the decisions and choices I make for myself every day. The more we all realize how this history will continue to affect generations of Americans of all racial backgrounds in various ways, the more we can authentically confront the current problem of race-based injustice in this country, and we can work to resolve it together.
--Angela J. Scott, Section Secretary
I was profoundly moved by my visit to the historic sites of the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. To stand behind the pulpit of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church from which Dr. Martin Luther King preached, and to visit his office in the basement where he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott, were transformative experiences for me.
-- John L. McDonnell, Jr., Council Member
The American Bar Association's Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice's Fall meeting in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama was an incredibly powerful experience that I will forever cherish. As an African-American woman lawyer, I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of what my ancestors endured so that I could become who I am today. I continue to be inspired by the
-- Melanie E. Bates, Council Member
The Alabama meeting was a truly moving experience. Deep in the historical center of the slave trade, civil rights marches, lynchings, and Jim Crow, we heard the voices of past and contemporary victims, inspiring everyone to bend Martin Luther King Jr.’s arc of history faster toward justice. Today’s CRSJ can and will fight to remove modern Jim Crow laws like selective incarceration and voter suppression.
-- Wendy K. Mariner, Section Vice Chair
I found the CRSJ Fall Meeting in Alabama very moving. I thought I knew Civil Rights history in the USA, but this trip showed me that I really didn’t. It took being there and speaking with people there to bring home the enormity of the injustices that befell and still befall the African Americans in this country. I’m so grateful to be a part of an organization dedicated to making a difference in this area.
-- Beth K. Whittenbury, Council Member & Committee Chair
One of the many striking images in the museums we visited was the children, inside wire cages, hands raised in a plea for freedom and justice. In the 1950s and 1960s, and now, in the immigration detention centers especially across our southern border. It is heartbreaking and infuriating to see our country going
-- Virginia Sloan, Committee Division Director
I was stunned to learn that the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named after a Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, represents a rallying spot not only for those profoundly committed to racial
-- Drucilla Stender Ramey, Committee Division Director
I am old enough to remember having seen in real time TV reports of the events in Birmingham, Montgomery
-- Richard T. Foltin., Council Member
About the Meeting
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Birmingham, Mongomery, & Selma, Alabama
During the 2018-19 ABA year, Section Chair Wilson Schooley's primary focus is on the overwhelming cumulative, enduring, daily effects of centuries of generational racism, oppression, terrorism and trauma on Black America, and on how richly we’ve profited - intellectually, financially, culturally, artistically, scientifically - from the people oppressed. As a Section forged in the Civil Rights movement, Mr. Schooley feels we should be in the thick of a conversation about this shameful side of the American Dream, part of creating a counter-narrative to the collective American silence on the history and continuing effects of slavery, racism, and domestic terror, and on the extraordinary contributions of African Americans to enriching our nation.
To kick off this initiative, on October 10-14, Section Council and leadership traveled to the civil rights triangle: Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama, where we held the 2018 CRSJ Fall Council Meeting, discussed the upcoming ABA year, and charted the future of the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section.
Section leadership visited many historic sites and museums during the meeting, including:
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
- Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) Tour & Legacy Museum
- 16th Street Baptist Church
- National Memorial for Peace and Justice
- Freedom Rides Museum
- Rosa Parks Museum
- Selma Center for Nonviolence Truth and Reconciliation