This summer, in the year 2019, we were made aware that the governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, had donned blackface in a college photo of 1967. While the Governor apologized, Garden Spices recognizes that during these times idle talk is cheap. It is time to WALK in truth in action. We join hands with Project Say Something , (PSS), in calling for direct action to heal the wounds of AL citizens that have been marginalized since before the Civil War, during the era of Jim Crow, and today. We stand for justice in action!
The following letter was sent to Governor Kay Ivey from the PSS Founder, Camille Bennett. We enter it into publication to illustrate that we must be the initiators of action. -Victorine
I am Camille Bennett, I have been an Alabama resident for the majority of my life and a citizen committed to serving the people. I listened to your recording yesterday and read your public apology thoroughly. The part that resonates with me the most is “I offer my heartfelt apologies for the pain and embarrassment this causes, and I will do all I can — going forward — to help show the nation that the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s…We have come a long way, for sure, but we still have a long way to go.”
While a public apology is certainly a small step towards reconciliation, direct action is far more appropriate. In May of 2017 you passed the Memorial Preservation Act protecting what many Alabama residents like myself see as symbols of racial terror and oppression, aka, Confederate monuments.
I founded the organization Project Say Something www.projectsaysomething.org in December of 2014. We have been campaigning for over 2 years to erect a monument to racial justice of Dred and Harriet (wife) Scott in front of our local courthouse in Florence, AL. The most famous legal challenge to slavery was the Dred Scott case. Scott lived in Florence for nearly ten years. In 1857, after nearly a decade of trying to gain his freedom, Scott’s legal efforts came to an end as the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that any person of African descent was not considered a citizen of the United States, regardless of whether that individual was a free person or a slave. This ruling, which has been called the worst in American history–helped to motivate abolitionists across the nation to continue to fight for the end of slavery. The Dred Scott decision, through its gross injustice and denial of citizenship, propelled our nation towards justice. If the preservation of history is your goal it is, of the utmost importance to properly contextualize Confederate Monuments and to include the atrocities of slavery and the lives affected by the genocide and maltreatment of African people.
Governor Ivey, the overt racism captured in your Auburn recording is merely a symptom of systemic racism. Racial disparities in mass incarceration, on death row, segregated schools, suspension rates, in pre-term births, infant mortality and in poverty prove that Alabama still struggles to realize racial justice. We are asking that you take another small step towards reconciliation and consider endorsing and providing support to erect a monument to racial justice in Florence, AL. Grassroots community organizations like Project Say Something are vital vessels of hope for marginalized people. We feel it is appropriate and necessary to request a meeting with yourself and your cabinet to discuss our campaign and proposal in greater detail.
Project Say Something
It’s morning time! Write your officials, ACT, register folks to vote, ACT, canvass foryour candidates, ACT, Share the movement on your social media, ACT, drive folks to VOTE. We hope that you will follow your pursuit of justice-in-action by any means necessary, (hopefully, in peace).