Conversation about race spreading through Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Michael Brown’s family maintains the grand jury process was rigged to clear Officer Darren Wilson. That notion is fueling the reaction to Monday’s announcement and why, even in Birmingham, it’s a topic of many conversations.

Many parents are wondering how they’ll explain what happened to their children. Others are focused on what the next step will be.

Birmingham is steeped in civil rights history. The Civil Rights Institute shows visitors where our country has been. Many people are asking if a lesson will be learned from Ferguson or are we doomed to repeat our own history.

Cars and radios in Birmingham were tuned in Tuesday morning. Conversation and reaction to Ferguson dominated the airwaves. A conversation about race will most likely continue in homes across the country.

“I have friends of mine who are crying, trying to figure out how they’re going to talk to their sons,” said Ahmad Ward with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

“They are worried about their husbands or sons being out in public because we’re seeing situations where it seems like your humanity is in question,” paused Ward.

“I can’t make you see my humanity,” he continued.

Frustration boiled over Monday night in Ferguson.

“I just really wish that we were able to see more of those folks who were out there saying “’Hey, look. Don’t do this’,” said Ward.

“If you’re not talking, if you’re not engaged, no one can hear you and no one can be reactive or responsive to you,” said Brandon Dean. He feels like there are people who believe they aren’t being heard.

“We can’t convict or blame people for their reactions,” said Dean.

“We can only try to educate and create safe spaces and opportunities for people to vent those frustrations and ultimately come up with real lasting solutions,” he continued.

“If I don’t see color, then it’s possible I don’t see you. I tell people I want you to see my color. It’s okay,” laughed Ward, “I am what I am. See my humanity.”

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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