U.S. Commerce invests $2.9M to study locating Global Forum for Freedom and Justice Center in Bham

Global Freedom Center e1608127030714 U.S. Commerce invests $2.9M to study locating Global Forum for Freedom and Justice Center in Bham
HUD Secretary Ben Carson in the center. Birmingham City Council President on far right. Photo via Birmingham City Council Facebook page

The dream of a Global Forum for Freedom and Justice Center in Birmingham took a big step forward with the announcement of a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Birmingham City Council President William Parker was on hand to welcome U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson who made the grant announcement in front of City Hall on Tuesday morning after the weekly Birmingham City Council meeting.

The funding for the grant comes from Commerce’s  Economic Development Administration (EDA). According to a Department of Commerce news release, the grant was made possible by regional planning efforts led by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham. The purpose of EDA funds are to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

Initial Concerns

Global Forum
Rendering of the Global Forum for Justice and Freedom Center planned for Birmingham. Photo via Global Forum for Freedom and Justice

As reported in Bham Now almost a year ago, Global Forum for Freedom and Justice announced their intention to develop a campus near the Civil Rights District. 

Birmingham Alabama
Four Little Girls statue at the entrance of Kelly Ingram Park in front of 16th Street Baptist Church. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

According to several reports, local community leaders expressed concerns about the project. 

It looks like the planning and feasibility grant from Commerce will help the center find a location that meets everyone’s needs. 

That should be welcomed news.

As stated in the city council’s social media post, a new center could …”serve as an international gathering place focused on leadership, education, innovation and understanding, placed upon the sacred soil that gave rise to the modern Civil Rights Movement.”

Stay Tuned

Check in regularly with Bham Now for updates on this and other projects in and around the Magic City.

Now tell us. What do you think of this news? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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