The Birmingham Pledge Foundation in historic Birmingham, Ala. announced Wednesday the launch of a national initiative that aims to help reunite America. Its mission — to end racism wherever it exists, one person at a time — demands dignity and respect for all individuals regardless of race or religion.
News of the launch marks the inaugural day of Black History Month and comes days after President Trump’s executive order banning refugees from 7 predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US.
The foundation’s initiative, Making America Greater and Stronger Together, combines campaign slogans of both 2016 Presidential candidates to draw attention to the pledge’s principles. The Birmingham Pledge — a call for personal commitment to recognize the worth of every individual — addresses racial and religious prejudices.
“At no time since the creation of The Birmingham Pledge in 1997 has living its principles been more important to our country and the world at large than today,” said Jim Rotch, attorney and author of The Birmingham Pledge, in a press release.
Rotch, influenced by the Civil Rights Movements, wrote the pledge to inspire grassroots efforts to heal racial strife and end racism in Birmingham, Ala. and beyond. He spoke at Birmingham’s 31st Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast in January to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the creation of The Birmingham Pledge.
“Now–today– is the time to begin healing the wounds opened by the presidential election.”
Since its introduction in 1998 at Birmingham Unity Breakfast, The Birmingham Pledge has been widely embraced by people all over the world. It was posted in India’s Taj Mahal and signed by the likes of Desmond Tutu and NASCAR legend Bobby Allison. Civil rights movement icons like Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, UN Ambassador Andrew Young and Morris Dee, co-founder of Southern Poverty Law Center, have signed the Birmingham Pledge, as has Alabama native Harper Lee, author of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
The new initiative is a major component of The Birmingham Pledge Foundation’s current Global Awareness Campaign, which has garnered the support of civic, professional and other groups in the Birmingham community. Thousands of people on every continent have adopted The Pledge, a vivid indicator that racial reconciliation and harmony are of paramount importance.
The Campaign calls on individuals committed to the principles of The Birmingham Pledge — to believe that every person has worth as an individual and to treat them with dignity and respect regardless of race or religion — to “Sign it, Live it, Share it.”
For information on how to sign The Birmingham Pledge, to conduct a pledge drive in your community, or to volunteer, please visit The Birmingham Pledge Foundation’s website at www.thebirminghampledge.org.
The Birmingham Pledge:
I believe that every person has worth as an individual.
I believe that every person is entitled to dignity and respect, regardless of race or color.
I believe that every thought and every act of racial prejudice is harmful; if it is my thought or act, then it is harmful to me as well as to others.
Therefore, from this day forward I will strive daily to eliminate racial prejudice from my thoughts and actions.
I will discourage racial prejudice by others at every opportunity.
I will treat all people with dignity and respect; and I will strive daily to honor this pledge,
knowing that the world will be a better place because of my effort.