BCRI Launches “When Resilience Speaks: A Community Response to COVID-19”

BCRI Launches “When Resilience Speaks: A Community Response to COVID-19”
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has launched “When Resilience Speaks: A Community Response to COVID-19," a digital platform for sharing stories through videos, social posts, telephone calls and email. (file)

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) has launched an online community participation project for people to share their views and experiences during the coronavirus crisis.

When Resilience Speaks: A Community Response to COVID-19” is a digital platform for sharing stories through videos, social posts, telephone calls and email.

“We believe this moment of social and economic upheaval is exactly the right time to gauge where we are as a society,” said BCRI President and CEO Andrea Taylor. “We want the perspectives of people who have already lived through other crises and the voices of young people who have such valuable input and new ideas about next steps.”

Taylor said the project goal is for people of all ages, races and backgrounds to share perspectives about the COVID-19 pandemic, how it is transforming their everyday lives and how it compares with events of the past century. Stories will be shared with the community in real time and may form the nucleus of a BCRI exhibition.

The first question to the public is: “How is the COVID-19 pandemic changing our community?” Responses can be made by:

Taylor said BCRI has a tradition of collecting oral histories about the experiences of activists and eyewitnesses to history in exhibits such as “Foot Soldiers” and “Voices of Alabama.”

“The physical doors of our institute may be closed right now, but we’re throwing open the doors to community dialog that technology affords us,” she said. “It’s a key part of our mission to engage the public in meaningful dialog, and future generations will have the benefit of our having it documented as well.”

The project name stems from the resilience of civil rights leaders, Taylor said, noting that similar leadership will be needed to cope with COVID-19. She said a clinical psychologist was consulted on the efficacy of the project and to frame questions.

BCRI is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. BCRI is celebrating its 27th anniversary, reaching more than 150,000 people each year through teacher education, group tours, outreach programs, award-winning after-school and public programs, exhibitions and extensive archival collections. For more information, visit www.bcri.org.

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