Uptown Cityfest packs out Entertainment District
BIRMINGHAM - AL — Hundreds are packing Birmingham's Entertainment District for the Uptown City-fest. It marks the end of this week's U.S. Conference of Mayors which reflected on 50 years of progress, and the change, still needed.
The big event tonight are the concerts. There are bands from Sacramento, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Birmingham here - playing in different areas.
Tonight's message is not just music - people here are taking the time to reflect on what Empowerment Week means.
"This is such a wonderful time to remember," Sheryl Ortiz, who attended the concert said. "I was a little girl, I was 7 years old when this happened."
"The city has come such a long way and the people," Valerie Foster, a Birmingham resident said. "They way we act, and treat each other."
Music filled Birmingham's new entertainment district, giving listeners a chance to reflect on the week's events.
"There used to be a shame," Brenda Sampson, a lifelong Birmingham resident said. "And to just see it's not the same place it used to be. Enjoy the music, enjoy the festival and enjoy everyone coming out!"
"This Empowerment Week is such a special time in our city's history and it means so much to our citizens and so many visitors who have come to town," Birmingham Police Chief, A.C. Roper said.
People from across the United States are visiting Birmingham this week - even people from other countries. Troro, Nova Scotia Town Councilor, Raymond Tynes is here this week documenting Birmingham's progress in hopes of taking these lessons back home.
"We've had our struggles up in Canada," Tynes said. "Most of the people who came from the Underground Railroad came to Nova Scotia. Racism and prejudice while it was going on here, we didn't have the lynchings or dogs, but we were really segregated. Through the struggles here, we learned how to do it non-violently in Nova Scotia."
He said there are two key lessons he's learned so far this week:
"Never give up. Never stop the fight," Tynes said.
"Meeting people from all over the world that have traveled here just to be a part of these festivities, the events and to really soak up the lessons of what Birmingham means," Roper said.