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FBI and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Announce ‘Fifty Years Forward-Toward Progress and Partnership’ Conference
A Conference on Law Enforcement and Civil Rights

FBI Birmingham May 07, 2013
  • Public Affairs Specialist Paul E. Daymond (205) 279-1457

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)-Birmingham Division and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) will sponsor its annual conference on civil rights and law enforcement, “Fifty Years Forward-Toward Progress and Partnership” on Sunday and Monday, May 19-20, 2013, at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church sy 1530 Sixth Avenue North in Birmingham, Alabama, 35203. The sessions are free and open to the public. Registration is required at www.bcri.org by May 15.

On Sunday, May 19 at 4:30-6:00 p.m., a tour and reception will be held at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The opening session, “Civil Rights: Fifty Years Back and Fifty Years Forward,” will begin at 6:00 p.m. at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Former Alabama Attorney General William Baxley and Bishop Calvin Woods, president of the Birmingham Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, will share reflections on the past, present, and future of civil rights, law enforcement, and the community.

The conference continues on Monday, May 20 at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Survivor Rev. Carolyn McKinstry and FBI agents will share their perspectives on the 1963 church bombing and its aftermath. A highlight of the day will be “From Past to Present: A Conversation with Birmingham Police Chiefs,” featuring current Chief A.C. Roper and former chiefs Johnnie Johnson, Mike Coppage, and Annetta Nunn. Dynamic and decorated law enforcement professionals will share firsthand experience about investigating and prosecuting major civil rights cases. Representatives from community organizations will share how they address civil rights violations.

Other topics to be discussed include:

  • “Hate Crimes: Current Issues and Enforcement”
  • “Human Trafficking—21st Century Slavery”
  • “From Cold Case to Closed Case”
  • “Color of Law” (depriving someone of federal rights based on governmental authority)
  • Careers in law enforcement meet and greet

“The objective of this conference is to increase awareness of attendees in what constitutes a violation of the nation’s civil rights laws and how law enforcement organizations have progressed in building partnerships to help protect the constitutional rights guaranteed all our citizens. The FBI is pleased to be able to partner with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in this endeavor,” stated Richard D. Schwein, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Birmingham Division of the FBI.

“This is a unique opportunity for the community and law enforcement to share information and constructive dialogue,” said Priscilla Hancock Cooper, BCRI vice president of Institutional Programs. “Painful confrontations between police and demonstrators in 1963 laid the groundwork for dramatic legal change in this country. Fifty years later, this conference focuses on how law enforcement now defines, interprets and enforces civil rights laws.”

For media information, contact:

  • Paul Daymond, Federal Bureau of Investigation, at paul.daymond@ic.fbi.gov or (205) 279-1457
  • Priscilla Hancock Cooper, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, at pcooper@bcri.org or (205) 328-9696, x233.

About the FBI

The FBI is the primary federal agency responsible for investigating all allegations regarding violations of federal civil rights statutes. These laws are designed to protect the civil rights of all persons, citizens, and non-citizens alike within U.S. territory. The laws include: hate crimes; “color of law” violations (actions taken by a person acting under authority of local, state, or federal laws to willfully deprive someone of their rights secured under the Constitution); human trafficking (the illegal “business” of trafficking persons into forced labor and prostitution); and freedom of access to clinic entrances.