Open Ears & Beers – A Listening Session

H.I.V.E. is excited to host its first Open Ears & Beers event on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Good People Brewing Company. We’ve heard every month from our speakers that we need to be talking and listening to each other to truly evoke change and goodness. Open Ears & Beers is an evening that brings together groups with differing view points to casually and respectfully chat with each other.

We are currently recruiting organizations from all sides of the aisle to host the event with us. If there’s an organization that you work with or groups your know of that would be interested in participating, please let us know.

Education Meeting Recap

The H.I.V.E was thrilled to welcome a panel of rockstars to our August meeting focused on eduction.

Larry Lee ( educated us about the Alabama State Board of Education and the continuing controversy involving the hiring, performance and potential dismissal of the current State Superintendent of Education, Mike Sentence. He is a wealth of information about the topic. A more in depth look at the “spectacle” surrounding the Superintendent office can be found here on Larry’s blog.

Trisha Crain ( State Education Reporter) discussed the persistent segregation of teachers and students in Jefferson County, Alabama, and the Black/White academic achievement gap. She talked about the disparities in the Jefferson County schools, a county with over 12 school districts, where several cities have broken off and formed their own districts. She stated that one in three African American students go to school with all African American students and one in four white students go to school with nothing but white kids.

Trisha also discussed the role of public education versus private education and posed the question “Is education a private pursuit or a public good?” Many people don’t seem to want to spend money to educate other peoples’ kids. What do we want our public schools to do?

Susan Remick (Adamsville Elementary School Principal) spoke to the group about her work for over 25 years in education as a special education teacher, an instructor in Mountain Brook Elementary schools and currently as principal of the Title I school Adamsville Elementary in Jefferson County. She discussed the importance of building relationships within the school as a bridge to higher parental involvement and student achievement. She also chatted about the importance of public education and the constant changes in education policy with new administrations at the local, state and national level.

A huge thank you to these rockstars who took time out of their busy schedule to educate and enlighten us. And mark your calendar for the next H.I.V.E. meeting on Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at the Homewood Library!

Senate Special Election Primary – August 15th

The election is just around the corner and it’s time to get fired up and get yourself (and your neighbors and your friends and your family across Alabama) to the polls. The Secretary of State has predicted a very low voter turnout (only 20-25%) and every vote matters.

Here’s what we need to know:

  1. Check the status of your registration (some AL voters have found themselves listed as inactive) and verify your polling place.
  2. Read up on the seven democratic candidates:
    1. Dr. Will Boyd
    2. Van Caldwell
    3. Jason Fisher
    4. Michael Hansen
    5. Doug Jones
    6. Robert Kennedy Jr.
    7. Charles Nana
  3. VOTE on August 15th!

Click here to learn more about the candidates. 

H.I.V.E. Education Meeting – Thursday, 8/17

The H.I.V.E. is super excited about its upcoming education meeting on Thursday, August 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at the Homewood Library, room 101.

Supreme Justice Earl Warren said that “Where a State has undertaken to provide an opportunity for an education in its public schools, such an opportunity is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms”.  Please come join State Education Reporter, Trisha Crain, Adamsville Elementary School Principal, Susan Remick, and Larry Lee, Education Advocate, in a discussion about the state of educational opportunity in Alabama today and what it means for the future of our state.

-Larry Lee will educate us about the Alabama State Board of Education and the continuing controversy involving the hiring, performance and potential dismissal of the current State Superintendent of Education, Mike Sentence.

-Trisha Crain will discuss the persistent segregation of teachers and students in Jefferson County, Alabama, and the Black/White academic achievement gap.

-Susan Remnick will discuss her experience as an educator in the Mountain Brook School system as well as her tenure as an administrator in the JeffCoEd school system.

Trisha Crain is currently the statewide education reporter for  She believes that the best way to improve education for all children in Alabama, whether they are privileged or impoverished, is to share complete, unbiased information about what is happening in the classroom, the boardroom and the halls of the legislature.  This belief was her inspiration to create the Alabama School Connection in 2009, an influential website and blog designed to help parents and teachers keep up with state legislation that impacted education.

Susan Remick is in her third year as the Principal at Adamsville Elementary (AES) a high poverty, high minority school in the Jefferson County School system.  Prior to becoming Principal at AES, she was an assistant principal at Chalkville Elementary School and a special education teacher in Mountain Brook City Schools.  She is a graduate of both UAB and UA and is also the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments as a student, teacher and administrator.

Larry Lee retired from a career in journalism and community development in 2011, and currently spends most of his time advocating for public education.  In 2015 he began writing a popular, respected blog at He is especially interested in rural development and co-authored three publications about rural Alabama and rural schools.  He was recognized by the Council for Leaders in Alabama schools with the Dr. James Street award as an advocate for public schools.

We will also be collecting school supplies to donate to the Islamic Academy of Alabama here in Homewood! They are in great need of school supplies and could use anything and everything…markers, paper, notebooks, construction paper, scissors, pencils, etc. They will also accept monetary donations to help sponsor students who do not have the resources to attend their school. Please bring any donations to our August meeting or email us to arrange drop off.

We hope you can join us!

Healthcare Meeting Recap

The H.I.V.E was thrilled to host an engaging and informational panel of superstars for its July meeting on Monday, July 24, 2017 including:

  •  Doug Hoffman, former Finance Director of Children’s Hospital of Alabama, founder of Engage Alabama and Alabama’s first certified navigator for the Affordable Care Act.
  • Katie Shuey, Director of State Government Relations at HealthSouth and sits on the Medicaid and Finance Committees at the Federation of American Hospitals.
  • Dr. Marsha Sturdevant, Retired Medical Director of the William A. Daniel, Jr. Adolescent Health Center; Medical Director of the Adolescent Eating Disorders Clinic; Medical Staff at UAB Hospital, Children’s of Alabama and Cooper Green Mercy Hospital; Project Director of the Alabama Ryan White Part D Program and Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

Our panelists covered The Need for the ACA (click for powerpoint presentation) including:

  • The need for and design of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it related specifically to Alabama.
  • Medicaid and the expansion (or lack of expansion as in Alabama) under the ACA, issues with the ACA, controlling costs and how we can move forward.
  • Fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to healthcare. Republicans are mostly against the ACA because of the tax situation (the ACA gives 18 tax cuts). People also have issue with the individual mandate (although Katie pointed out the the first individual mandate dates back to John Adams who authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance (read more here).

The panelists agreed to provide some talking points for a point paper on what can we do about the current healthcare situation including:

  •  Listening to the issues and voting in upcoming elections with the viewpoints that align with yours
  • Talking to people who don’t believe what we do and listening!

We also had some special guest at our meeting including Spencer Bowley with Planned Parenthood, Dana Ellis with’s Neighborhood Listening Project on healthcare, Jennifer Geer with MAD in Alabama and Felicia Stewart, candidate for the Alabama House District 46.

We look forward to seeing everyone again on Thursday, August 17, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Homewood Library, room 101 for a meeting on Education featuring Larry Lee and Trisha Crain.