Black Caucus works to end racism in Alabama

by Kirsten J. Barnes, Communications Director, Office of Senate Minority Caucus

Photo Caption: State Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, is the chair of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus.

In June 2020, members of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus (ALBC) met with Governor Kay Ivey to express concern over a number of issues in the State of Alabama related to systemic racism.

With Governor Ivey’s assistance, subsequent meetings were held with her, law enforcement officials from Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), Alabama Sheriffs Association, Alabama Association of Police Chiefs, A-Post Training; Katie Britt, President/ CEO of Business Council of Alabama along with BCA’s Executive Leadership Committee; and Chancellor Finis St. John of The University of Alabama System and Dr. Jay Gogue of Auburn University. Meetings with other officials, including presidents of other colleges, are pending.

“We are very appreciative of Governor Ivey and all of the officials with whom we have met thus far,” said Senator Vivian Davis Figures, Chairwoman of the ALBC. “Our dialogues have been very substantive and productive as the Caucus presented our concerns and recommendations. Our goal is to get to the root of and eradicate racism and anything that communicates hatred, bigotry or divisiveness within the State of Alabama. The tragic and senseless death of George Floyd caused us all to take a closer look at the systemic racism at work here in Alabama.”

The Caucus commends the University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees for voting unanimously to remove the name of Josiah Nott and renaming it Honors Hall on UA’s main campus. Rep. A.J. McCampbell, Vice Chairman of ALBC, said, “The University of Alabama had already started this endeavor before our meeting with them this past Tuesday. That was a great first step and strong leadership was shown. We are looking forward to the other institutions of higher learning in Alabama to do the same as well. The Caucus also hopes that all members of the Alabama Legislature have been inspired to adopt and make meaningful changes in legislation that governs our state.”

This group of elected Senators and Representatives are holding these talks, with plans for others, “so that people will stop focusing on Alabama’s sordid past, and instead see a beautiful Alabama present, and the makings of a bright future for all Alabamians,” Figures said.

“During each of these meetings, our members have had the opportunity to voice what we feel the necessary changes should be. I just hope this openness to positive change continues throughout the upcoming 2021 Alabama Legislative Session,” said Senate Minority Leader, Senator Bobby Singleton.