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Gov. Ivey awards $1 million for 2020 Census outreach

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Governor Kay Ivey on Monday announced that she has awarded $1 million to support efforts to promote, educate and encourage participation among Alabamians in the 2020 Census.

The funds provided by the Legislature will go to 34 government agencies and organizations for programs to increase Alabama’s self-response rate during the 2020 Census this spring.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of what a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census means for Alabama. Those numbers have a direct impact on billions of dollars in funding that affect schools, community programs, health care, job opportunities and just about every other aspect of our state,” Gov. Ivey said. “I thank our legislators for allocating funds for these outreach efforts, and I also commend local leaders and organizations for being proactive in these efforts.”

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funding allocated by the Legislature in the 2019-2020 Education Trust Fund Budget. ADECA acts as the state’s liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau and the lead state agency for 2020 Census outreach and preparation. The agency is leading Gov. Ivey’s Alabama Counts initiative to ensure a maximum count in the 2020 Census which begins in mid-March 2020 when every Alabama household address will receive an invitation to respond to the census. More information is available atwww.census.alabama.gov.

“Governor Ivey is absolutely correct about how important an accurate count is for Alabama, and thanks to the Legislature, ADECA is able to partner with entities across the state for education and outreach efforts to ensure that Alabama gets its fair share of funding and to help ensure fair representation for the state in the U.S. House of Representatives,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said.

The following grants were awarded by Gov. Ivey (listed alphabetically):

  • Alabama Community College System – $80,052 to establish help centers on their campuses and adult education sites and conduct events to promote awareness and provide places to fill out the census.
  • Alabama Possible – $40,000 to develop a statewide grassroots communication infrastructure to promote census participation.
  • Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission – $12,616 for awareness activities in the Black Belt region.
  • Aliceville Elementary School – $35,000 to raise census awareness to parents of students and residents in Pickens County.
  • ARC of Madison County – $40,000 to focus efforts on reaching disabled residents statewide.
  • Auburn University – Alabama Cooperative Extension System – $40,000 to conduct a statewide grassroots campaign through the county extension offices.
  • Baldwin County Commission – $20,000 to work with partners to target hard-to-reach groups including the aging population, people with disabilities, young children and others within the county.
  • Birmingham Public Library – $10,000 for programs and outreach initiatives to increase awareness and participation in the census.
  • Black Belt Community Foundation – $40,000 to provide census awareness through training workshops and events in the organization’s 12-county service area.
  • Blount County Economic Development Council – $35,000 for educational materials and interpreters to promote census to hard-to-reach residents in the county.
  • Brundidge (city of) – $5,642 to provide advertising, banners, and signage to promote census participation to hard-to-reach populations.
  • Bullock County Development Authority – $10,015 to conduct census events and promote census outreach via signage and direct mail.
  • Coosa County Commission – $17,000 to reach hard-to-count populations with little to no internet access and minority populations.
  • Cullman (city of) – $40,000 for the city to partner with more than 30 entities to promote census participation throughout Cullman County.
  • Decatur (city of) – $5,500 to host community events that will promote census awareness.
  • Elmore County Commission – $30,048 for a variety of events designed to increase census participation.
  • Franklin County Commission – $40,000 for census outreach activities targeting hard-to-reach populations within the county.
  • Foley (city of) – $10,000 for promotional items and to conduct events to further census awareness and participation.
  • Greenville-Butler County Library – $32,650 to provide census education and technology assistance for residents to fill out the census.
  • Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama – $40,000 to partner with other statewide organizations to raise census awareness to Hispanic and other immigrant communities.
  • Houston County Commission – $3,860 to cover extended hours at area senior centers the week of the April 1st Census Day to help senior citizens fill out the census form.
  • Ivy Foundation of Montgomery – $40,000 to assist and support the foundation’s partners with a statewide census awareness campaign and activities.
  • Lowndes County Commission – $40,000 to enhance awareness in minority, low-income and low-education populations, along with those without internet access or transportation difficulties.
  • Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments – $40,000 to use digital media, advertising and promotions to promote within the organization’s five-county coverage area in northwest Alabama.
  • Opelika (city of) – $11,931 to promote census participation and implement two workstations to provide a place for residents to complete their census forms.
  • Perry County Commission – $31,000 for advertising, social media and direct outreach to target messaging to hard-to-count populations.
  • Saraland (city of) – $17,000 for education workshops and events, along with advertising and social media to increase census participation.
  • Shelby County Commission – $22,686 to promote census awareness to hard-to-reach populations within the county.
  • St. Clair County Commission – $10,000 to raise awareness and hold events that allow residents to fill out their census forms on site.
  • Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments – $40,000 to conduct outreach efforts to the aging population in the organization’s five-county coverage area in northeast Alabama.
  • Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center – $40,000 for outdoor media promotion and Census Day activities.
  • United Way of Central Alabama – $40,000 to use community initiatives to increase the census self-response rate in the organization’s coverage area.
  • VOICES for Alabama’s Children – $40,000 to address a previous undercount of children under five years of age.
  • YMCA of Tuscaloosa – $40,000 for the Y on Wheels project to increase the self-response rates of hard-to-count communities in and around the city of Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa County.

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Governor issues call to action on mask wearing: “We are at war with an invisible enemy”

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Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday issued a new call to action for all Alabamians to wear a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Transcript:

Today we are at war with an invisible enemy.

Not that long ago, families across Alabama helped America turn the tide in World War II. Some joined the front lines in combat, while others led the fight on the home front.

Those sacrifices helped our nation win the war and go on to define the Greatest Generation. Now, we must answer today’s call. By comparison, our sacrifice is small.

But each of us can do our part. Mask up Alabama!

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Governor

Democratic women condemn comments on Gov. Kay Ivey’s appearance

“These comments are disrespectful, inappropriate in every way, and represent a broader culture of casual sexism,” read a joint statement from four Democratic women.

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Gov. Kay Ivey held an Coronavirus update Press conference Wednesday, July 29, 2020 in Montgomery, Ala. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

A group of Democratic women on Wednesday issued a statement condemning comments made by a state school board member who was critical of Gov. Kay Ivey’s weight. 

Wayne Reynolds, a Republican who represents portions of northwest Alabama on the board, wrote during a live stream event that Ivey, who is also a Republican, “is gaining weight.” 

Afterward, in an interview with AL.com, Reynolds doubled — and then tripled — down on his comments as he critiqued Ivey’s choice of clothing. 

“She looked heavy in that white suit,” Reynolds said of Ivey, who held a press conference on Wednesday to update the state’s “safer-at-home” order. “I don’t know what she weighs. I just made an observation.”

Later in the interview, Reynolds said the pantsuit Ivey wore was unflattering and that he had seen her wear other suits “that were more slimming on her.”

The backlash to Reynold’s comments was swift and bipartisan with women around the state rightfully taking issue. 

“These comments are disrespectful, inappropriate in every way, and represent a broader culture of casual sexism,” read a joint statement from four Democratic women. “Women all over Alabama know what it is like to be subjected to unfair criticism on the basis of their appearance or weight. 

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“We need to cultivate an environment where individuals are judged on the basis of their skill and proficiency. Alabama elected officials should be discussing policy, not the physical appearance of policymakers. Anything less is a disservice to Alabamians. We are disturbed by Mr. Reynold’s remarks, and we hope other elected officials and candidates will likewise condemn his comments. Mr. Reynolds was wrong and we deserve better.”


The statement was signed by Amy Wasyluka, president of Alabama Democratic Women, Phyliss Harvey Hall, a District 2 congressional candidate, Dr. Adia Winfrey, a District 3 congressional candidate and Laura Casey, a candidate for president of the Alabama Public Service Commission.

 

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Nine people protesting for Medicaid expansion arrested outside Alabama Capitol

Among those arrested was former State Sen. Hank Sanders.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Nine people were arrested during a protest in front of the Alabama Capitol on Tuesday. (Hank Sanders/Facebook)

Nine people were arrested during a protest in front of the Alabama Capitol on Tuesday, which for some was the second time they’d been arrested this month while trying to bring attention to expanding Medicaid in the state and to the need for racial reconciliation.

As members of Alabama Black Lives Matter and Alabama SaveOurSelves held a demonstration Tuesday, which was live-streamed on former State Sen. Hank Sanders’ Facebook page, some began attempting to spray paint the words “Good Trouble,” a reference to the late Georgia Rep. John Lewis and his civil rights work, and “Expand Medicaid” on the street in front of the Capitol and were arrested.

Still, others began to try and spray paint onto the street and were also arrested, as can be seen in the video.

Among those arrested was Sanders, who could be seen in the video being handcuffed and loaded into a Montgomery Police Department vehicle, and his wife, 75-year-old Faya Rose Toure, an attorney, civil rights activist and former municipal judge.

The groups had planned Tuesday’s demonstration to bring attention to their push to expand Medicaid and to the arrest of five members after a demonstration there on July 16, in which members tried to use yellow spray paint to paint the words “Black Lives Matter” and “Expand Medicaid” on the street. The five turned themselves into police on July 20.

Montgomery Police Department public information officer Capt. Saba Coleman in a press release Tuesday evening said that those detained had not yet been charged. Montgomery Police declined to identify those persons who were detained.

“On Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at about 12 noon, MPD responded to the area of the Capitol in reference to protesters painting the street in front of the Capitol steps. Upon arrival, MPD witnessed the protesters painting the street. At which time, MPD notified the City of Montgomery’s Traffic Engineering Department regarding the painting of the street,” Coleman said in the statement. “The paint was deemed noncompliant because organizers failed to request and obtain proper permitting and prior approval, which resulted in a crew being dispatched to the area. Protesters involved in the offense were subsequently detained; however, they were released with charges pending. There’s no additional information available for release.”

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Faya Toure, Sanders’ wife, attorney, civil rights activist and former municipal judge, speaking to APR on Tuesday morning before the demonstration said she planned to once again work to bring attention to the need to expand Medicaid in Alabama in order to save thousands of lives a year and that she’s also addressed the arrests earlier in the month, of which she was one.

Sanders told APR on Monday that he was “mad as hell” over the arrests which included strip searches for the women but not for the men.

In an open letter to Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, Toure wrote of her experience being strip-searched at the police station.

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“Some say I should have resisted, but I did not,” Toure starts the letter of, then describes the act of having to strip for officers. “Within minutes the ordeal that changed my soul was over.”

In a statement, ACLU of Alabama noted that the latest arrests came “just days after a memorial service honoring Representative John Lewis was held on the same steps.”

“Once again, we see Alabama police officers using the power of the government to unnecessarily seize and detain people who are exercising their constitutionally protected First Amendment right to assemble and protest,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of ACLU of Alabama in a statement. “While the Constitution does not explicitly protect people from legal repercussions when protesting crosses into civil disobedience, we paid tribute mere days ago to the life and legacy of Representative John Lewis, a man dedicated to peaceful civil disobedience.”

“His phrase ‘good trouble’ was called that precisely because protesting unjust laws means breaking those laws. Nevertheless, we have seen time and again that change does not happen without protesters who are willing to accept these consequences in order to upend the status quo and those who uphold it,” Marshall continued. “We stand with these freedom fighters–in Montgomery, Hoover, and across the state of Alabama–who are continuing to fight for a more just and equitable world where every social problem is not addressed with handcuffs.”

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Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis has died

“Our country has lost one of its most beloved Civil Rights leaders,” said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Rep. John Lewis. (LORI SHAULL)

Alabama native turned Civil Rights Movement leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis has died.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Selma, mourned the passing of her friend, colleague and mentor.

“My heart breaks for the passing of my dear friend and mentor Congressman John Lewis, but my spirit soars for an angel walked among us and we were all touched by his greatness. He forever changed Selma and this nation,” Sewell said. “May we finish his life’s work and restore the Voting Rights Act.”

“Congressman John Lewis was a beacon of light, hope and inspiration throughout his life,” Sewell continued. ”To be in his presence was to experience love, whole-hearted and without exception. Though he was so often met with hatred, violence and racial terrorism, it never permeated his being. He remained until his passing a faithful servant-leader, whose righteousness, kindness and vision for a more equitable future inspired all who were blessed to know him. I am honored to have been able to call him a mentor and colleague and, above all, a friend.”

Lewis grew up on a farm outside of Troy, where his family were sharecroppers. At 21, he became a Freedom Rider. At 23, he was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. He was a close colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement. King affectionately referred to him as “the boy from Troy.”

Lewis and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Hosea Williams organized the first Selma to Montgomery voting rights march. Then-Alabama Gov. George Wallace ordered the then all-white Alabama State Troopers to stop Lewis and about 600 marchers. On March 7, 1965, the State Troopers, local law enforcement and hundreds of white citizen volunteers attacked Lewis and the other voting rights marchers when they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

Lewis was among the many marchers beaten that day. The event is remembered as “Bloody Sunday.”

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“On Bloody Sunday in 1965, John was confronted by Alabama state troopers and their dogs, but he was determined to fight for equality and justice, putting his own life on the line in the service of others and a vision for a brighter future,” Sewell said. “So many times did John cross bridges, insisting that our nation live up to the promises enshrined in our constitution. As he always said, he gave a little blood on Selma bridge, but he also bridged the gaps that so often divide our political parties, working every day for a more just America.”

“John believed firmly that the best days of our nation lie ahead of us,” Sewell concluded. “It is his unwavering optimism that I will continue to call upon in moments of challenge and hardship. While John has left this earth, his legacy fighting for equality and justice lives on. I hope that our nation – and our leaders – will unite behind the cause most dear to John: voting rights. We must restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to its full strength so that every American – regardless of color – is able to make their voice heard at the ballot box. John, the ‘boy from Troy,’ was the conscience of the Congress. He will be dearly missed.”

“John Lewis was an American treasure,” said Martin Luther King III in a statement. “He gave a voice to the voiceless, and he reminded each of us that the most powerful nonviolent tool is the vote. Our hearts feel empty without our friend, but we find comfort knowing that he is free at last.”

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“Our country has lost one of its most beloved Civil Rights leaders,” said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. “I join my fellow Alabamians & the nation in mourning the death of Rep. John Lewis. He dedicated his life to serving his community & advocating for others. We’ll forever remember his heroism & his enduring legacy.”

Lewis announced that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer in December.

He was absent at this year’s annual remembrance of Bloody Sunday in Selma on March 1. The annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama had been led by Lewis every year until this one.

“Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way,” former President Barack Obama wrote. “John Lewis did. And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders — to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise.”

Lewis was age 80. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lilian Miles Lewis, who died in 2012 after a long illness.

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