The mission of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is to enlighten each generation about civil and human rights by exploring our common past and working together in the present to build a better future.

We believe that human and civil rights are universal, regardless of residence, gender, race, religion, culture or ethnic background.

A recent unfortunate incident involving visitors to the galleries has prompted BCRI to take disciplinary action and to extend an apology to those involved.

We are proud that thousands of visitors come to BCRI each year to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and the nonviolent protest against racial discrimination and injustice that ultimately led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Institute was created 25 years ago as a cultural and educational research center to promote understanding and to facilitate dialogue. Indeed, the recent incident offers a “teachable moment” to break the silence and indifference that is often associated with gender discrimination. We will continue training our staff and volunteers about the importance of respect for all visitors.

BCRI is currently exhibiting “Blood Mirror,” a sculpture by Jordan Eagles that is part of the city-wide exhibitions and events that address the FDA’s blood donation policy and advocates for LGBTQ equality. The sculpture, a 7-foot monolith, allows viewers to see themselves reflected in the blood of 59 gay, bisexual and transgender men in protest of the FDA’s current policy that prohibits donations from this community that could save lives.

The sculpture also draws attention to lingering discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation. Inclusion isn’t taken for granted and sadly, there is still stigma, especially in the South where the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to grow at an alarming rate. We hope this sculpture and the related community programs will spark conversations about blood equality and equality for all people.