Alabama is known as a southeastern state deeply rooted in its conservative values and traditional ways of life. Despite the common stereotypes associated with this region, Alabama has made numerous strides and advancements in human rights over the course of the last several decades. With progressive thinking and innovative policies, Alabama has laid the groundwork for furthering essential human rights throughout the state.
From the court system to education, Alabama is making great strides for human rights. In 1992, Birmingham became the first city in Alabama to establish a Human Rights Commission. This independent body ensures civil rights cases such as assault, discrimination and hate crimes are justly investigated and settled with appropriate consequences. Additionally, Alabama is one of only six states to relentlessly enforce the higher education desegregation mandates which were set forth in the Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka from 1954. Their re-affirming commitment towards federally mandated desegregation led to their attendance and graduation rate among African Americans going from 42% to 77%, respectively.
In addition to enacting progressive policies, Alabama has dedicated dozens of public parks and other public places as monuments towards making progress in human rights. Statues commemorating various civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Nat Turner can be found throughout various cities within Alabama – showing their dedication towards raising awareness around equal rights.
It’s clear that although often mistaken as a conservative community, Alabama is proving day-by-day that it is making tremendous progress in regards to upholding and protecting human rights. From implementing desegregation policies to erecting monuments around accurate depictions of American history, Alabama is continuing to re-brand itself as a beacon for change within the South.
From Birmingham to Montgomery and beyond, Alabama is known for its past civil rights struggles to secure basic human rights for black Americans. But today, as the nation continues to work towards true racial equity, Alabama’s human rights record continues to be a source of both progress and setbacks.
On the bright side, Alabama has been successful in legally protecting affirmative action policies in higher education, allowing more diverse student bodies at public universities than ever before. This has resulted in increased access for people of all backgrounds and further illustrates Alabama’s commitment to move forward with civil rights initiatives.
But Alabama faces ongoing issues with inaccessibility to voting rights, particularly among minority communities. The 2020 election cycle was particularly concerning in this regard with new restrictions implemented by the state legislature to ensure stricter ballot access laws. This led to thousands of active voters being removed from registration rolls just one day before the election. Thousands of adults feel disenfranchised and fear similar policies will remain in place for future elections.
In addition, as public health data around the COVID-19 pandemic becomes available, it is evident that this disease has had a disproportionately negative impact on black populations in Alabama. This highlights the systemic racial inequities that still exist in the state today and the need for increased access to adequate healthcare resources for minority communities.
Overall, there have been positive strides towards racial equity in Alabama but progress must continue if the state is truly committed to protecting human rights. Now is an important time for decision makers across Alabama to recognize these issues, embrace racial justice initiatives and provide support for those suffering disproportionately from civil rights abuses.