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

Understanding Awareness & Empathy (1)

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.

“Fight Like a Mother” Book Discussion with Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts


Sunday, August 25, 2019
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Levite JCC of Birmingham
(3960 Montclair Rd, Birmingham, AL 35213)

H.I.V.E. is teaming up with Moms Demand Action Alabama and Hadassah Birmingham to read and discuss the book Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World by Moms founder Shannon Watts.  There will be a special appearance by Shannon Watts via Skype!

JCMP Homewood Coalition Meeting – Thursday, 8/22 at 6 p.m.

The JCMP: Jefferson County Memorial Project’s Homewood Coalition invites you to join us for a community meeting on Thursday, 8/22 at 6 p.m. at the Lee Community Center in Rosedale (1828 25th Ct S, Homewood, AL 35209).

JCMP is a county-wide grassroots coalition with over 35 community partners and a multi-racial, multi-faith, multi-sector, and multi-generational group of volunteers poised to memorialize victims of racial terror violence and expand our county’s understanding of past and present issues of racial injustice.

We held an initial meeting of the Homewood Coalition in May and had over 30 residents provide input as to what our group wanted to do to educate our community and be advocates for change. Homewood has an opportunity to learn about our history as part of the larger community of Jefferson County, and plant the seeds of reconciliation in doing so. Join us!

Homewood Poster 8_22-page-001

“Homegoing” Discussion on Monday, 7/22


This summer the Jefferson County Memorial Project is leading city-wide book discussions around five books.

H.I.V.E. has chosen to read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Please join us on Monday, July 22, 2019 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Acapulco Mexican Restaurant (430 Greensprings Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35209) for a special discussion on this amazing book.

Other great selections for the Jefferson County Memorial Project Book Club this summer include:

Snack Donations for the Magic City Acceptance Center


H.I.V.E. is partnering with our friends at Edgewood Presbyterian Church and their “More Light (Pride) Sunday” on June 9th to collect snack donations for the marvelous Magic City Acceptance Center. Snack suggestions include:

  • Individually wrapped chips/cookies/granola bars/crackers/fruit snacks/etc.
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Pop tarts
  • Individual servings of mac n’ cheese/chef boyardee/etc.
  • Fridge packs of soda
  • Water
  • Sports drinks

You can also click here to order from their Amazon Wish List. Super easy!

We’ll collect donations between now and June 14th. Please drop off your donations at Edgewood Presbyterian Church (850 Oxmoor Rd) or porch drop-off at 304 Woodland Dr. or 1540 Saulter View Rd. Please email us at with any questions.

May H.I.V.E. Books – 5/18 at 9:30 a.m.

Join us for our next H.I.V.E. Books/Gathering this Saturday, 5/18 at 9:30 a.m. at Seeds Coffee (174 Oxmoor Rd, 35209) for good coffee and conversation. We are reading/read/didn’t read at all “Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing That Changed the Course of Civil Rights” by Doug Jones. All are welcome (even if you don’t read the book).


Homewood Community Engagement Meeting

JCMP Homewood Meeting

H.I.V.E. is teaming up with the JCMP: Jefferson County Memorial Project (JCMP) to organize a Homewood Coalition. Join us for our initial meeting on Thursday, May 9th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Edgewood Presbyterian Church (850 Oxmoor Rd) to learn more about JCMP’s mission and to brainstorm ways Homewood residents can advocate for change.

JCMP is a grassroots coalition currently composed of over 35 community partners and a multi-racial, multi-faith, multi-sector, and multi-generational group of committed volunteers. Together, we will complete the four goals of JCMP:

1. Research the 30 documented victims of racial terror and their descendants
2. Place historical markers at lynching sites and retrieve our monument from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice
3. Educate the public on the importance of this history
4. Advocate for reform where racial injustice still exists today