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Academics urge civil rights institute to reinstate award to Angela Davis

Prestigious human rights award was stripped from activist for expressing support for BDS
Davis is vocal supporter of Palestinian rights and BDS movement (AFP/File photo)

A growing chorus of academics have urged a US civil rights institute to reinstate its award to renowned activist Angela Davis after it stripped her of the honour for expressing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“Angela Davis is a tireless advocate for all human rights, a leading civil rights activist and renowned scholar,” the pro-Palestinian group Jewish Voice for Peace said on Thursday said on Twitter.

The group also published a letter signed by hundreds of professors who expressed support for the prestigious Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award to be reinstated to Davis.

“The cancelling of this award by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is unjust, insulting and ill-conceived, especially because it is likely premised on Professor Davis’s long-standing support for Palestinian human rights,” said JVP in its letter.

“Professor Davis’s activist and scholarly life epitomizes the spirit and intention of this award and we call upon the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to honor Professor Davis for the totality of her work,” the letter went on to say.

In a statement shared on social media this week, Davis said she found out on 5 January that the BCRI had voted to rescind its invitation to give her the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award later this year.

"I have indeed expressed opposition to policies and practices of the state of Israel, as I express similar opposition to US support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and other discriminatory US policies," she wrote.

An award-winning author, professor and civil rights activist, Davis was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, a town in the southern United States that was at the forefront of the struggle to end segregation in the 1960s.

She has been a vocal supporter of Palestinian rights and an advocate of the BDS movement to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories and its discriminatory policies.

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