The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) will host Birmingham’s first-ever Nelson Mandela International Day celebration on Monday, July 18 from noon to 8:00 p.m. in historic Kelly Ingram Park. “Our first-ever Nelson Mandela International Day celebration supports our mission to educate people about human rights globally,” said BCRI president & CEO, Lawrence J. Pijeaux, Jr. “The exchange program provides a unique opportunity for the Birmingham community to learn about the parallels between the South African freedom struggle and its leaders and the civil rights movement.” Birmingham’s Mandela Day celebration will be a free family festival and cultural exchange featuring music, dancers, vendors, a children’s village, free admission to BCRI galleries and a “67 Minutes” Booth where festival-goers will sign up through Hands-On-Birmingham to commit to community service in our area.
The event will feature visitors from South Africa – especially ten youth and three chaperones from Johannesburg who will be in Birmingham as participants in a project partnership between BCRI and the Apartheid Museum and Mandela House Museum in South Africa. The International Legacy Youth Leadership project has enabled youth in Birmingham and South Africa to study one another’s histories and cultures and visit each other’s countries. They have focused on the roles played by youth in bringing social and political change to the United States, through the Civil Rights Movement, and to South Africa as a result of the global anti-apartheid struggle. An evening program to close out Mandela Day will feature music and dance, as well as comments from local officials. A highlight will be presentations by the youth from Johannesburg and Birmingham.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which promotes Mandela Day, explains that, “Nelson Mandela International Day is a call to action for people everywhere to take responsibility for making the world a better place, one small step at a time, just as Nelson Mandela did.” In November 2009 the United Nations declared 18 July, Mandela’s birthday, as Nelson Mandela International Day and since then the day has been marked with acts of goodwill in communities throughout the world.
For more information please see www.bcri.org.