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FBI and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Announce ‘The Civil Rights Act at 50: Education and Empowerment’ Conference
A Conference on Law Enforcement and Civil Rights

FBI Birmingham April 21, 2014
  • 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 their annual conference on civil rights and law enforcement, “The Civil Rights Act @ 50: Education and Empowerment,” on Sunday and Monday, April 27 and 28, 2014, at the BCRI at 520 Sixteenth Street North in Birmingham, Alabama, 35203. The sessions are free and open to the public. Registration is required at www.bcri.org.

The conference begins on Sunday, April 27 at 4:30 p.m. with a tour and reception at BCRI. The opening program begins at 6:00 p.m. with a panel discussion on “Civil Rights @ 50: 1964-2014.” The discussion will include the background of the historic act, its expansion, and implications for law enforcement today and in the future. Panelists include Doug Jones, an attorney with Jones & Hawley PC who prosecuted the 16th Street bombing cases for the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Montre D. Carodine, University of Alabama School of Law; Frank Mackaman, Dirksen Congressional Leadership Research Center; Amanda Wilson, executive director, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); and Hezekiah Jackson, president of the Metro Birmingham Branch NAACP.

The conference continues on Monday, April 28 at BCRI from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with registration and continental breakfast from 8-8:30 a.m. The early program begins at 8:45 a.m. with Reverend Thomas Gilmore, a civil rights activist who was elected Greene County’s first black sheriff in 1971. Reverend Gilmore will share his “Reflections on Community, Law Enforcement, and Civil Rights” and take questions from participants.

James Felte, Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Joyce White-Vance, and District Attorney for Jefferson County Brandon Falls will discuss current issues criminal civil rights enforcement.

Other topics to be discussed by esteemed law enforcement professionals and community leaders include “Human Trafficking,” “Current Issues in Civil Rights Enforcement,” and “Color of Law: From Encounter to Incarceration.” “Color of Law” refers to abuse of power by law enforcement and others in authority and the panel will discuss policies, practices, and related cases.

“The objective of this conference is to broaden and deepen the engagement of attendees about civil rights laws and how they play a role in our community. As the primary federal agency responsible for investigating all allegations regarding criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes, 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, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Birmingham Division.

Priscilla Hancock Cooper, BCRI vice president of Institutional Programs, said, “This year’s conference is particularly important because 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many of the legal protections and social policy that we now take for granted were made possible by that federal law. This conference is designed to educate members of both the general community and law enforcement so that they will be empowered to more effectively use these 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 criminal 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.

About BCRI

The mission of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) is to promote civil and human rights worldwide through education. BCRI presents an in-depth look at the Civil Rights Movement through time, from before the movement’s inception through today’s international struggle for universal human rights. BCRI is more than just a museum; it is a place of research, a teaching facility, and an acknowledged learning center for people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, BCRI reaches more than 140,000 individuals through tours and exhibitions, as well as school and community outreach, public programs, special events, and archival collections. Call 205-328-9696 or visit www.bcri.org for more information.