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Doug Jones, John Lewis, Terri Sewell, and Martha Roby to lead Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama

Brandon Moseley

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The Faith and Politics Institute will return to Alabama March 1 through March 3 to lead a bipartisan Congressional delegation of nearly 50 members from the U.S. House and U.S. Senate on the 2019 Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage.

The delegation will visit historic civil rights sites in Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma and engage members of Congress on the events of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s.

This year’s pilgrimage will be led by Alabama born civil rights legend, U.S. Representative John Lewis, D-Georgia, and co-hosted by U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell, D-Selma, and Martha Roby, R-Montgomery.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, and Republican Conference Vice Chair Mark Walker, R-North Carolina, will join the delegation, along with dozens of members of Congress including more than ten freshman House members, dozens of students, seminarians and clergy.

Joan Mooney, FPI President and CEO, said of the Pilgrimage said, “Together, we will explore powerful and often painful lessons of history to help us better face our challenges of division today and find much-needed hope for our collective future.”

“This pilgrimage to the sites that defined the modern-day voting rights movement in America may be more important now than ever before,” Congressman Lewis said. “At a time when there are interests who want to tear down the pillars of our democracy and reverse the progress we have made, it is important that members of Congress, both new and seasoned, never forget the blood that was shed and the sacrifices that were made to build a more fair, more just democracy in this country. We don’t want to go back. We want to move forward, and in order to advance the cause of voting rights in America, members must know injustice when we see. That’s how this past informs our work today.”

“The annual civil rights pilgrimage is a valuable opportunity to turn toward this painful chapter in our history, rather than away from it,” Senator Jones said. “By reflecting on the sacrifices and injustices of that time, we can better apply their lessons to our daily lives. We are seeing a resurgence of the kind of dangerous rhetoric that inspired hate and violence in our past and undermined the values we hold dear. To honor those who bravely fought and bled in the pursuit of equality, we must continue to shine a light on their actions and stand up against those who would once again use hate as a tool to divide us.”

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“Each year, I am honored to lead my friends and colleagues on this historic Pilgrimage in our nation’s civil rights district, Alabama’s 7th Congressional District,” Congresswoman Sewell said. “As Alabama’s first Black Congresswoman, I know I stand on the shoulders of so many giants who courageously fought, bled and died to make our society more just and inclusive for all. I hope this Pilgrimage will help us reflect on all that we can do – individually and collectively – to advance justice and equality in our nation.”

“It is my distinct pleasure to serve as a co-host of the Faith and Politics Institute Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama,” Congresswoman Sewell said. “Each year, this event serves as a unique opportunity for lawmakers to immerse themselves in the history of my home state and to better understand its place in the American Civil Rights Movement. I encourage this year’s participants to share their experiences and Alabama’s stories with residents of their home states so that all Americans can take part in building a legacy of hope, faith, and justice for generations to come. Together, we will shape a brighter future.”

The theme of this year’s pilgrimage is “Finding Hope from History”. The bipartisan congressional delegation will visit historic civil rights landmarks such as Birmingham’s 16th St. Baptist Church, Montgomery’s Dexter Baptist Church, and Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

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The Civil Rights Pilgrimage will also bring members of Congress to The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery to learn about the history of domestic slavery and lynching in the United States. The Museum opened in 2018 as, “the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.

“We are shadowed in America by a history of racial inequality that can only be overcome by the light of truth,” Stevenson said. “We must confront the legacy of slavery, lynching and segregation in this country if we truly want to be free.”

The 2019 Pilgrimage will provide members of Congress the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the civil rights icons in Alabama and hopefully achieve greater personal understanding through dialogue and engagement with colleagues.

This year’s pilgrimage is occurring in the wake of prominent Linden editor and publisher Goodloe Sutton’s call for the Ku Klux Klan to ride again and lynch members of Congress.

“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out DC, we’d all been better off,” Sutton told the Montgomery Advertiser, “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

Linden is just 49.6 miles from Selma. Sutton has been formally censured by the Alabama Press Association for his comments. Roby, Sewell, and Jones all calling on Sutton to resign Tuesday.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Elections

First presidential debate is tonight

Tuesday’s debate, set to begin at 8 p.m. CST, will be moderated by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace.

Brandon Moseley

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President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden, right, are running for president in 2020. (STAFF SGT. TONY HARP/AIR NATIONAL GUARD AND GAGE SKIDMORE/FLIKR)

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joseph Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, are preparing for Tuesday night’s debate.

Tuesday’s debate will be moderated by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. The debate will be at 8 p.m. CST and is being hosted at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

Due to COVID-19, the two candidates and the moderator will not shake hands. There will be a small number of ticketed guests inside the debate hall, along with debate officials, crews and TV network anchors including Fox News.

Trump has prepared with help from former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani but has chosen not to have traditional lengthy practice sessions.

Trump is suggesting he doesn’t want to overdo it.

“Sometimes you can go too much in that stuff,” Trump told reporters on Sunday.

Biden has been holding mock debate sessions with senior adviser Bob Bauer and top aides, according to CBS News.

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“I’m prepared to go out and make my case as to why I think he’s failed and why I think the answers I have to proceed will help the American people, the American economy and make us safer internationally,” Biden said.

“The president prepares by being president,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh reportedly said. “And by regularly facing hostile news media. That’s pretty good practice by any measure.”

The debate as to whether Trump should have appointed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg will almost certainly come up.

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“Joe Biden spent a lot of time in his basement to study up,” said Lara Trump, the president’s campaign adviser and daughter-in-law. “He’s been in this game for 47 years. I assume he’ll do OK. Quite frankly, the bar has been lowered so much for Joe Biden that if he stays awake for the whole thing it’s like maybe he won.”

The two candidates are running very different campaigns.

From March until the last week in August, according to news reports, Biden made no in-person speeches or campaign appearances. Biden’s events since have been rare and attended by just a few invited guests.

Trump, on the other hand, has been holding mass campaign rallies. Trump has held 14 in-person rallies in September including in swing states New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Florida, Virginia and Minnesota with multiple trips to Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

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National

Planned Parenthood says Alabama is poised to outlaw abortion if Barrett is confirmed

“If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, Alabama could be at the center of the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said Barbara Ann Luttrell, Planned Parenthood Southeast’s vice president of external affairs.

Brandon Moseley

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President Donald Trump, left, and his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. (WHITE HOUSE PHOTO)

President Donald Trump on Saturday nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, prompting Planned Parenthood to warn that Alabama could be poised to outlaw abortion if Barrett is confirmed to the nation’s highest court.

“If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, Alabama could be at the center of the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said Barbara Ann Luttrell, Planned Parenthood Southeast’s vice president of external affairs. “Right now, 17 abortion-related cases are one step from the Supreme Court — including Alabama’s abortion ban. Most of these cases involve incremental restrictions that effectively ban abortion, without the need to overturn Roe. These incremental bans, combined with ‘trigger laws’ designed to immediately ban abortion if Roe were to fall, and with over 20 state legislatures hostile to reproductive health care, means that what little is left of abortion access could be eliminated for an estimated 25 million women of reproductive age with Barrett on the Supreme Court.”

Luttrell shared a full breakdown of the states where abortion is most under threat.

According to Planned Parenthood, more than 20 state legislatures, including Alabama, are hostile to reproductive health care, meaning that what little is left of abortion access could be eliminated for an estimated 25 million women of reproductive age with Barrett on the Supreme Court.

Last year, shortly after the Senate confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh, 25 abortion bans passed in 12 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Utah.

All of these laws have been blocked by lower courts and some are making their way up through the appeals process.

Since 2011, more than 480 abortion restrictions, such as mandatory waiting periods, two-trip requirements, bans on insurance coverage, and telehealth abortion bans, have passed in states, making it harder or impossible for people — particularly women with lower incomes — to access abortion services.

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Five states only have one abortion provider left: Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia.

According to Planned Parenthood, 10 states have trigger bans, laws designed to immediately ban all or nearly all abortions if Roe were to fall: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah.

Nearly half of the states have some combination of trigger bans, pre-Roe bans and hostile legislatures that position them to ban abortion quickly.

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In 2019, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont enacted laws that would protect the right to abortion no matter what happens in the White House or at the Supreme Court.

In 2019, Vermont became the first state in U.S. history to advance a constitutional amendment process to make abortion a Constitutional right.

Pro-abortion state legislators in Massachusetts are pushing to guarantee abortion rights in the state. The Roe Act would enshrine the right to reproductive freedom into state law.

The majority of voters in Alabama voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion if the controversial 5-to-4 1973 Roe v. Wade decision were overturned.

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Congress

Sewell urges Alabamians to participate in Census

There is only two days left for you and your family to get counted, so take action now.

Brandon Moseley

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Congresswoman Terri Sewell (via Office of Rep. Terri Sewell)

Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, is urging constituents to participate in the 2020 Census before time runs out.

“It was recently announced that Alabama ranked last in the nation in Census response with only 62 percent of all Alabama households having responded,” Sewell said. “The news is even more sobering for Alabama’s 7th Congressional District because we are at 6.8 [percentage points] below the State of Alabama in our return. In our district, the return rate for the 14 counties is 53.8 percent. This is devastating news! The time for Alabamians to be counted is running out with the Census deadline being moved up to Sept. 30.”

There are four ways to complete your 2020 Census:

  • Online at my2020census.gov. (Note: The Census ID number included on your original invitation letter is not required to complete the census online).
  • Call the U.S. Census Bureau toll-free at 844-330-2020. Telephone assistance is also available in multiple languages.
  • By mail: Return the paper form included with your invitation letter.
  • In person with a Census enumerator/representative that visits your home.

There is only two days left for you and your family to get counted, so take action now. All responses are kept confidential under federal law and are not shared with law enforcement, courts, creditors or other government agencies.

“According to a George Washington University study, each Alabamian that is not counted represents $1,600 so it is vital you and everyone in your household are counted,” Sewell added. “To learn more about how the Census impact vital federal resources Alabamians need and deserve, follow my #30Day30Ways Census campaign on my official Twitter.”

You can watch the full TerriTalks on making the 7th District count in the 2020 Census. Sewell is in her fifth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional District.

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Environment

Baldwin, Escambia and Mobile residents impacted by Sally urged to apply for federal aid

FEMA has approved $11.1 million in housing grants to individuals and families through Sept. 28, according to the governor’s office. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey took a tour of the damage from Hurricane Sally on the gulf coast Friday September 18, 2020. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced more than $11 million in federal disaster aid has been approved for those impacted by Hurricane Sally in Baldwin, Escambia and Mobile counties.  

FEMA has approved $11.1 million in housing grants to individuals and families through Sept. 28, according to Ivey’s office. 

“Hurricane Sally took a punch to our coastal areas, but thanks in part to the millions of dollars in federal assistance, the people of Alabama are moving along the road to recovery,” Ivey said. “I remain grateful to President Trump, Administrator Gaynor and their teams for prioritizing the people of Alabama reeling from Hurricane Sally. We will get through this together; we have done it before, and we will do it again.”

Federal grants to repair homes or for renting temporary housing made up $8.9 million of the FEMA funding. Grants for childcare, moving and storage, medical and dental comprised the remaining $2.1 million. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved an additional $570,900 in disaster home repair loans for those impacted by Sally.

Ivey’s office encourages homeowners and renters in Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia counties to apply to FEMA for federal disaster assistance as soon as possible. Residents of these three Alabama counties may also be eligible to receive assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses resulting from the hurricane.

Residents in those three counties impacted by Hurricane Sally may register for FEMA disaster assistance online by visiting disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Multi-lingual operators are available. The toll-free lines are open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight CST.

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Those with a homeowner’s insurance policy are encouraged to file an insurance claim before applying for federal assistance. 

Information that may be useful to have when you register include:

  • Address of the damaged primary dwelling where the damage occurred
  • Current mailing address
  • Current telephone number
  • Insurance information and description of disaster-caused damage and loss
  • Total household annual income
  • Names and birth dates of family members who live in the household
  • Name and Social Security number of co-applicant (if applicable)
  • Routing and account number for checking or savings account so FEMA may directly transfer disaster assistance funds

 For more information on Hurricane Say visit FEMA’s website here.

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