Rock the Primary: What’s on Your Ballot?

Rock the Primary_ What's on your ballot_

Join us as the Greater Birmingham Democrats, H.I.V.E. and MAD (Make a Difference) in Alabama host “Rock the Primary: What’s on Your Ballot?” on Thursday, February 13, 2020 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the large auditorium of the Homewood Library (1721 Oxmoor Rd). Just in time for the primary on March 3rd, hear from the democratic candidates on the ballot, and learn more about the presidential delegates and school board amendment. Be informed!

Alabama Legislative Preview Re-cap

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H.I.V.E. held an Alabama Legislative Preview on Wednesday, January 15th! The main message from all our amazing presenters was “Your voice is needed!” It’s important to find an issue(s) that you care about, learn more, and to lend your voice to those causes. Contact your legislatures and talk with your family and friends! #beinformed #befabulous #bethechange

Not sure who your legislators are? Click here for more info. 

Thanks to these fabulous folks doing amazing work in our state. Sign up on their mailing lists for easy ways to get involved and get informed. And join them on their upcoming legislative days to get a first-hand look at our state government in action and to advocate for the issues you believe in!


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Representative Neil Rafferty, House District 54

The upcoming session begins Tuesday, February 4, 2020. Currently Neil is one of 105 members of the house/one of 28 democrats. There are 35 senators/8 democrats.

 

Hot topics for the upcoming session include:

  • Budget – the budget currently has a surplus and discussion will center around what to do with the money. Ideas include Medicaid expansion, funding the general transportation fund, mental health in schools, saving the money
  • Prisons – responding to DOJ report on prison conditions, building of new prisons
  • Workforce development
  • Mental health resources for students
  • Gaming/lottery bills

Defense
A pre-filled bills that democrats will be fighting:

  • House Bill 20 – Requires public K-12 school students to use their biological gender as it appears on their birth certificate to determine sporting events in which they can participate

Offense
Issues that democrats will be taking up this session:

  • Red flag laws – permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves
  • Voting rights
  • Elimination of the Grocery tax
  • Maternal mortality review panel – establishing and funding
  • Reviewing access to care

Issues Neil’s passionate about:

  • Modernizing language regarding sex education
  • Establishing syringe exchange programs
  • Veteran suicide task force
  • Nondiscrimination clauses
  • Strengthening anti-bullying laws
  • Removing tax on solar panel
  • Pregnant workers fairness act
  • Low income housing regulation

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Alabama Appleseed (
alabamaappleseed.org)
Appleseed is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to achieve justice and equality for all Alabamians. Through policy analysis, research and documentation, public education, community organizing, litigation, and more, they work to change the root causes of injustice.

Issues Appleseed will be addressing this legislative session:

  • Three Strikes law – supporting legislation that would give people sentenced to die in prison for crimes where there was no physical harm a second look
  • Payday loan reform – supporting the 30 Days to Pay bill, mandating 30 day loan terms
  • Drivers license reform – prohibiting suspension of drivers license for any reason except for dangerous driving
  • Diversion task force – supporting legislation that will create a task force to standardize diversion practices and end user fee structures
  • Marijuana – supporting legislation that reclassifies possession as a fine only, civil offense
  • Improving re-entry – supporting legislation that increases state spending on vocational/educational programs in prison, providing birth certificates, drivers licenses, etc upon release, and giving people 6 months outside of prison before they begin paying their fines
  • Open records reform

How you can help!


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Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (www.momsdemandaction.org)

Mom is a grassroots movement fighting for public safety measures that protect people from gun violence by passing stronger gun laws and working to close loopholes.

 

  • Alabama has the 3rd highest rate of gun deaths in the U.S.
  • On average, 961 people die of guns in Alabama (55% of gun deaths are suichdes and 41% homicides)
  • The rate of gun deaths in Alabama has increased 32% from 2008 to 2017 compared to a 17% increase over the same time period nationwide

Issues Moms will be addressing this legislative session:

  • Opposing permitless carry in Alabama (pre-filed Senate Bill 1) which would remove Alabama’s concealed handgun permit requirement, allowing people to carry concealed loaded handguns in public.
  • Supporting Red Flag laws – temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. 15 states and DC have enacted Red Flag laws which have been shown to reduce the risk of firearm suicide.

How you can help!

* Text READY to 64433 so that you can receive emails and texts from the local Moms Birmingham group


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The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham (www.womensfundbirmingham.org)

Mission is to accelerate economic opportunity for women and their families through philanthropy, research, and advocacy.

 

  • Only 29 out of 67 counties in Alabama have a hospital that offers obstetrical care
  • 490,000 of women in Alabama are living in poverty, including 48% of all single women heads of households with children.
  • Alabama has the second lowest labor participation rate in the country. The Alabama Workforce Council predicts a shortage of 500,000 skilled workers by 2025. Considered together, these stats speak to not only a problem but a potential solution.

The Women’s Fund will release their advocacy agenda beginning of February so join the mailing list to get more info.

How you can help!

2020! Alabama Legislative Preview & Judicial Forum

Alabama Legislative Preview

alabama-state-capitolJoin us for an Alabama Legislative Session Preview on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church (4300 Hampton Heights Dr, 35209). Hear from Representative Neil Rafferty as he gives us a brief overview of the legislature and the big issues in the upcoming session. Then hear from amazing groups Alabama Appleseed, Moms Demand Action, and the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham as they discuss the issues that matter most and ways you can get involved to move the needle in our great state.


Judicial Forum for Democratic Candidates

justiceH.I.V.E., Greater Birmingham Democrats, and MAD (Make a Difference) in Alabama will be hosting a Judicial Forum on Thursday, February 13, 2020 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the large auditorium of the Homewood Library (1721 Oxmoor Rd., Homewood, AL 35209). Just in time for the primary on March 3rd, learn all about the judgeships and hear from the candidates. Be informed! Be fabulous!

Drive for Mental Health Bags

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We’re so grateful for the amazing Donna Burgess and her time with us as she shared her family’s personal story of mental illness this week at our H.I.V.E. Brown Bag.

In honor of Donna, H.I.V.E. has committed to making 25 mental health bags for JBS (Jefferson/Blount/St. Clair) Mental Health Authority, which provides individualized mental health services to youth and adults in a manner that encourages resilience and wellness. These bags will be delivered to JBS for distribution to individuals moving from hospitals to group homes. Please click here to see how you can help!

H.I.V.E. Brown Bag on Mental Illness – Monday, 11/18 at 11:30 a.m.

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H.I.V.E. Brown Bag – Mental Illness
Monday, November 18th
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

304 Woodland Dr, Homewood, AL 35209

 

Please join us as the amazing Donna Burgess shares her personal story of mental illness in her son and family through the harsh years of onset, the struggle of acceptance and the “new normal” of recovery. Through her experience, strength and hope you are invited to a new awareness and understanding of mental illness and the urgent need to erase stigma and misunderstanding. Your presence, interest and concern are a sign of healing and hope to those who live with mental illness and those who love and care for them.

Understanding Awareness & Empathy Workshop this Monday, 10/28

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Join us this Monday, October 28th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Homewood Public Library (1721 Oxmoor Rd, Homewood, AL 35209) as the amazing T. Marie King guides us through dialogue and exercises that will challenge our beliefs and force us to examine the wo(man) in the mirror. In this workshop, we hope to empower the ability to talk about race and the ability to be more empathetic. We hope to create an environment where participants can identify, address, and eliminate their own individual biases so that we are able to connect with diverse communities. Please join us for this important exercise in understanding more about ourselves and our neighbors.

Co-hosted with Birmingham Islamic SocietyJefferson County Memorial Project Homewood CommitteeThe Listening ProjectMAD? Make a Difference Alabama, and the Magic City Acceptance Center.  Click here for more info.

Special thanks to Marz Lang and her amazing design!!

Ambassador Training – Monday, 10/7

JCMPJefferson County Memorial Project
Ambassador Training
Monday, October 7th, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Unitarian Universalist, 4300 Hampton Heights Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209

JCMP Trainings are meant to give people a deeper understanding of our county’s history and the tools to have these conversations with others. During the training, we will:

  • Learn about our county’s history of racial terror by discussing profiles in JCMP’s 30 Residents Report
  • Discuss best practices for having conversations about race and this history with friends and family
  • Hear feedback and ideas about what you want to see from JCMP as we move forward

This event is free and open to all. Please sign up to reserve your spot! 

Reading/Discussion with Author Kwoya Fagin Maples

Join us for a very special HIVE Books as we discuss Mend: Poems with author Kwoya Fagin Maples on Saturday, 9/21 at 9:30 a.m. at Seeds Coffee (174 Oxmoor Rd). Kwoya will have books on hand to sell/sign ($20 by cash/check/square).

About “Mend: Poems”
The inventor of the speculum, J. Marion Sims, is celebrated as the “father of modern gynecology,” and a memorial at his birthplace honors “his service to suffering women, empress and slave alike.” These tributes whitewash the fact that Sims achieved his surgical breakthroughs by experimenting on eleven enslaved African American women. Lent to Sims by their owners, these women were forced to undergo operations without their consent. Today, the names of all but three of these women are lost.

In Mend: Poems, Kwoya Fagin Maples gives voice to the enslaved women named in Sims’s autobiography: Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy. In poems exploring imagined memories and experiences relayed from hospital beds, the speakers challenge Sims’s lies, mourn their trampled dignity, name their suffering in spirit, and speak of their bodies as “bruised fruit.” At the same time, they are more than his victims, and the poems celebrate their humanity, their feelings, their memories, and their selves. A finalist for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, this debut collection illuminates a complex and disturbing chapter of the African American experience.

About Kwoya:
Kwoya Fagin Maples is a writer from Charleston, S.C. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama and is a graduate Cave Canem Fellow. She is the author of Mend (University Press of Kentucky, 2018). In addition to a chapbook publication by Finishing Line Press entitled Something of Yours (2010) her work is published in several journals and anthologies including Blackbird Literary Journal, Obsidian, Berkeley Poetry Review, The African-American Review, Pluck!, Cave Canem Anthology XIII, The Southern Women’s Review, and Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. Her most recent poetry collection, Mend, was finalist for the AWP Prize. Mend tells the story of the birth of gynecology and the role black enslaved women played in that process. This work received a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation.

Maples teaches Creative Writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and directs a three-dimensional poetry exhibit which features poetry and visual art including original paintings, photography, installations and film.

“Understanding Awareness and Empathy Workshop” with T. Marie King

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Join us on Monday, October 28th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Homewood Public Library (1721 Oxmoor Rd, Homewood, AL 35209) as the amazing T. Marie King guides us through dialogue and exercises that will challenge our beliefs and force us to examine the wo(man) in the mirror. In this workshop, we hope to empower the ability to talk about race and the ability to be more empathetic. We hope to create an environment where participants can identify, address, and eliminate their own individual biases so that we are able to connect with diverse communities. Please join us for this important exercise in understanding more about ourselves and our neighbors. Free and open to all!

Co-hosted with Birmingham Islamic SocietyJefferson County Memorial Project Homewood CommitteeThe Listening ProjectMAD? Make a Difference Alabama, and the Magic City Acceptance Center.  Click here for more info.

Help for Young Human Trafficking Victim

The Junior League’s Anti-Human Trafficking Committee and Wellhouse have shared the following information in the hopes of helping a local young victim (name has been changed) of human trafficking. Please read below and donate if you can.

Since April, there have been several juvenile sex trafficking cases opened in the Jefferson county area. One of the local cases involves a 14-year-old girl who was first trafficked in the Atlanta area at the age of 11.  Ashley’s pimp is an adult male she was introduced to by a classmate. When Ashley’s mother discovered her daughter was being sexually exploited, she moved her family back home to the Birmingham area. A few months after the move, Ashley’s pimp showed up in Birmingham and contacted her through social media and the exploitation continued. At this time, there has been an arrest of an adult male that Ashley was found with, but the pimp has still not been identified or caught. This exploitation has taken a toll on Ashley, and she has been hospitalized several times at Children’s Hospital for depression and suicidal thoughts. Also, Ashley’s mother has had incidents of males stalking her family and she is terrified this pimp is still after Ashley.

Ashley desperately needs a residential treatment program with specialized intensive trauma services for juvenile victims. Since none are available in Alabama, Ashley’s Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) has identified the Freedom Place in Houston, Texas – an out-of-state comprehensive program for juvenile sex trafficking victims that can help Ashley.  Once Ashley has been at the facility for 1 month, she can apply for Texas Medicaid assistance, which would pick up the charges for the long-term stay she desperately needs.  However, Ashley requires immediate financial assistance to help with travel to the facility as well as the first month of treatment.

The JPO is partnering with the Wellhouse to raise $10,000 to help with Ashley’s treatment costs.  The Wellhouse is an Alabama non-profit whose mission is to rescue and restore female victims of human trafficking that have been sexually exploited.  However, the Wellhouse is only equipped to serve adult victims (age 18 or older) at this time.

Please consider making a donation to the Wellhouse on Ashley’s behalf.  Even small donations ($20, $50, $100) will go a long way and increase her chances of surviving the trauma she has lived through.  You can donate online directly to the WellHouse (in honor of Ashley – Freedom Place), or send a check payable to the WellHouse to P.O. Box 868, Odenville, AL 35120 (subject line Ashley – Freedom Place).  Your donation is also tax-deductible.

Human trafficking is a terrible crime, and it is happening all over the state of Alabama.  It’s hard to measure because it is a hidden crime, but we do know that it is the second largest criminal activity in the US, second only to drug trafficking.  Data shows that human trafficking is a $150 billion per year industry and that 40% of human trafficking in the U.S. is in the Southeast. Major human trafficking corridors are: I-20, I-59, I-65, and I-95. Locations include hotels, truck stops, rest stops, strip clubs, parking lots and massage parlors.  Researchers also discovered 641,000 online ads escort ads placed in prominent websites known for exploiting victims in Alabama in 2017.