Journey to Justice

Journey to Justice: Two Birminghams – Human Rights Day, 10th December 2020 Feedback

We were honoured to welcome US civil rights Janice Kelsey from Birmingham, Alabama, whose story we tell in our exhibition. After being forced to cancel a public event with her in April due to the pandemic, it was very special to bring Janice together with friends from Birmingham UK who are also dedicated to working for social justice. This was a really inspiring, eclectic evening, uniting people around shared feelings of hope, resilience and a motivation to push for change – with beautiful music as well. Key themes that arose include the intertwined nature of economic and racial injustice. Speakers shared their individual journeys to justice ranging from marches for freedom in 1960s America, work tackling poverty pay and student action against racism today.  JtoJ volunteers also talked about our work on civil rights and challenging economic injustice:  https://journeytojustice.org.uk/economic-injustice/

“Lovely, well chaired and structured, the speakers were genuine, engaging, enthralling, I could feel the truth and connectivity, I could feel the desire from everyone to do good work.”

“Such an incredible evening! I’m so happy I was able to attend. Simply amazing! I feel so hopeful and I can’t wait to get back into the world to help it recover and build better.”

“That was simply the most astoundingly inspirational event. I feel so moved by so many incredible contributions. So many wise, humble, talented and inspiring speakers and musicians too!! I was immensely moved.”

“Thank you, thank you.  JtoJ brings together the most impressive and fine individuals – you really do. The group listening was so warm, appreciative and active. It was just cracking to be one of them.”

“This was a wonderful opportunity to hear at first hand the rich continuity of protest for racial and social justice, stretching from the “classical phase” of US civil rights protest in the 1960s to Black Lives Matter in the contemporary UK.  This “long history” allows us not only to identify continuities in the dignity and bravery of human protest, but also to reflect collectively on what is still to be done, and how we might best achieve change.”

“What I found particularly encouraging was listening to Janice Kelsey’s story about her own personal involvement in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Her talking about how she perceived the movement from her perspective and her encouragement at learning that she was part of something much bigger than herself was important to hear, as many people across the UK currently can relate in some way to such a feeling. The main thing I took away was how the work done by activists like MLK Jr began small and grew into something much bigger. The last few months I’ve often been wondering how we can expect huge systemic and societal shifts to happen, and so learning that a lot of the civil rights movement was built on many people choosing to try and effect change in their own small spheres of influence has given me much more motivation and optimism.”

“I thought the inter-generational aspect was a particularly strong feature of the speakers. I would love to hear so much more.”

“The humanity of the speakers and their stories shone through…That’s what galvanises people.”

“May we support each other, build each other up and make effective change in the world.”

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Read Janice Kelsey’s book I Woke Up With Freedom on My Mind, published by Urban Press, 2017

And you can read more about Janice on our website: www.journeytojustice.org.uk/projects/exhibition

With many thanks to the organisers, Carrie, Duncan, Henry, Mark, Martin, Sandra and all our speakers, participants and guests.

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