Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Thursday, July 9, 2016
CONTACT: Roy L. Williams, Director of Public Relations    
Birmingham Public Library                                               
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067                                                        

Panel discussion on reducing violence in Birmingham to take place June 18 at Central Library

What: Preventing the Tears: A Panel Discussion Providing Update on Curbing Homicides in Birmingham & book signing by Carolyn Johnson, author of “When Your Child Is Murdered”
When: Saturday, June 18, 2016, 2-4 p.m. (panel discussion), book signing 4-5 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Richard Arrington Jr. Auditorium, Linn-Henley Bldg., 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Admission: Free. Autographed copies of Johnson’s book will be available for purchase at the event.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (June 8, 2016)-The Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s Central Library downtown will host a panel discussion addressing how to curb homicides in Birmingham on Saturday, June 18, 2016. The event will feature a talk and book signing by victims’ advocate/community activist Carolyn Johnson, author of “When Your Child Is Murdered.”

The panel discussion will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on June 18 at Arrington Auditorium in the Linn-Henley Building, 2100 Park Place. Johnson will then sell autographed copies of her new book after the program between 4 and 5 p.m.

 A Bessemer native and graduate of Miles College, Johnson is employed in the Birmingham Mayor’s Office Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI) program.  Since her oldest son Rodreckus, 20, was murdered on Nov. 22, 2003, Johnson has worked tireless to help make Birmingham’s streets safer.
Rodreckus had left home to attend a birthday party at an acquaintance house, and was fatally shot while parking his car after a group of boys fighting engaged in a shootout. Nearly 13 years later, Rodreckus’ murder remains unsolved. 
Johnson’s new book, “When Your Child Is Murdered,” details how she used her devastation and pain as a catalyst to actively fight to reduce youth violence.  She is convinced that the problem of drugs, gangs and violence can’t be simply wished away.  On Aug. 30, 2004, she founded and organized the Parents Against Violence (PAV) Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to educating youth and parents about the consequences of using violence, and enforcing community awareness of unsolved homicides. 
Johnson’s advocacy work was instrumental in the establishment of a cold-case unit within the Birmingham Police Department in 2005. She organized the first Survivors of Murdered Loved Ones Luncheon in Birmingham to pay tribute to victims of homicide and to bring awareness to youth violence, and founded the People Supporting People to provide grief support and comfort to individuals and families victimized by violence. Johnson formed the Parents in Action, a mobilized community group that educates parents and youth about the negative effects of violence, and organized the annual Save Our Youth day to encourage students to refrain from violence, stay in school and to engage in positive activities during school summer break.
Johnson organized the Sisters Leadership Program to educate, mentor and empower girls ages 12-18, enabling many of the girls to later achieve promising careers. She also formed the “Who Killed My Child” and the “It Ain’t Snitching if it Happens to You” billboard campaign to bring awareness to unsolved homicides in 2006, a program that has help police settle several unsolved cases.
For her dedication and hard work, Johnson has been recognized by several organizations, including the Birmingham Citizens Advisory Board (CAB), the National Criminal Justice Department, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Birmingham Community, Police and Revitalization, City of Birmingham Office of the Mayor. She was awarded the Outstanding Leadership and Community Service by the NAACP, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Keeper of the Dream Award by Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 2006, and awarded the Alabama Black Achievers Award by the Oliver Robinson Foundation. She is a 2008 graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy.
In 2011, the Birmingham City Council and the Central Park Neighborhood Association commemorated the life of Rodreckus where a street marker was placed at the corner of Avenue R and 46th Street in his memory.  Johnson is featured in two powerful documentaries with UAB: Voices of Youth Violence and a recent film, “Wildfire.” She is the feature of the award winning documentary, “Not My Son” which was created and produced by the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (UA). 

For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for 129 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.
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