Alabama’s Democratic leaders describe President-elect Joe Biden’s and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s win, projected by multiple news outlets Saturday, as a victory for civility and a chance for a nation, bruised and bloodied from a deadly pandemic and racial unrest, to heal once again.
Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, in a video statement posted to his Twitter account, congratulated his longtime friend on the win and called for the nation to come together once again.
“Today, my friend of 40 years, Joe Biden, achieves his dream and the dream that I’ve had for him for 40 years,” Jones said. “I’ve been disappointed that Joe hasn’t been president before now, but I believe he’s the right person at the right time at the right moment in history, to take over and heal the divides in this country.”
“And what about my buddy Kamala. Making history. Black women have been so important to America. They’ve been so important in my election and now for Kamala to be able to make history once again, it’s truly remarkable. They are a great team. They’re going to do great things for this country,” Jones said.
“Right now, our job, mine and yours, is to make sure that we not just support them, but we support everybody. That we bring this country together. That we try to pull the seams back together that had been ripped apart, to try to make this one America, one Alabama,” Jones said. “John Lewis wrote about, ‘We are the American family, the American house.’ It’s our job to make sure that everyone knows that. That’s what we do, because we are. We can do this. It’s so great to be one America, one family. The American house. The American family.”
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, in tweets Saturday called for unity, and for a peaceful transfer of power.
“This is a Victory for Democracy! More Americans have voted in this election than ever before! Voting is not for the privilege, it is a Right for all Americans. This is a victory for unity! Americans chose unity over division and now we must all work to bridge the divide,” Sewell tweeted. “This victory is OURS! This is an American victory since Biden & Harris have promised to fight for all Americans- whether they got your vote or not. The people have spoken through their votes!”
“Every vote must be counted! When it is all said and done, we must put politics aside. We must honor our democracy’s promised tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. Now is the time for us to unite as Americans,” Sewell said in another tweet.
Alabama Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, and chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, told APR on Sunday that Biden and Harris campaigned in an honorable way, and that he has full confidence they will serve all Americans “not just the millions of us that voted for them.”
“We are facing a global pandemic and historic economic uncertainty. We need to deal honestly with each other regarding matters of racial justice. So now, more than ever before, confidence and character are critical for the White House. We have elected the right man and woman for the job,” England said.
Asked what he expects after Biden and Harris take office, England said he expects a sense of calm and resolution across the country.
“Where we don’t have to hold our breath for the next tweet, or insult, or demeaning comment from the president of the United States,” England said. “And we will begin to expect a certain level of civility, dignity, and decorum from the office of president again.”
State Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, in a message to APR said Harris’s election “has my heart joyfully bursting with gratitude, pride and hope.”
“I am so grateful that I get to witness the first female who happens to be an African American/South Asian, become Vice President of the United States of America. I am so proud of her because she is a perfect example of what we as women of color, can do and become given the opportunity,” Figures said. “With her background, experience, intellect and compassion for humankind, she is definitely destined to be a person of power and influence to help shape this nation for the better.”
“She exemplifies what can be for our little girls of color to see her and believe that anything is possible. Of course I am proud that she is my sorority sister, but she is a sister to all of us in one way or another, for she will bring stellar leadership that represents everyone,” Figures said. “Vice President-Elect Harris’ election gives me hope that the United States of America can work together to someday be united regardless of who and what we are as God created us to be.”
“The United States has been without real presidential leadership for four years. We have endured things being done and said by a President that we would never have imagined in our wildest dreams. I look at the election of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris as the ‘Dream Team’ because they are a reflection of the makeup of this country, and I see them bringing leadership that represents all people regardless of their places in life,” Figures continued. “When you consider their backgrounds, experience and hearts for the least of these and the voiceless, they give me hope and a belief that we can once again gain the respect of others as a world class leader. I have faith in the Biden-Harris Dream Team because we are desperate for calm, rational, thoughtful and experienced leadership more than ever.”
Civil rights leader Bruce Boynton dies at 83
The Dallas County Courthouse Annex will be renamed in honor of Boynton and fellow Civil Rights Movement leader J.L. Chestnut.
Selma attorney and Civil Rights Movement leader Bruce Carver Boynton died from cancer in a Montgomery hospital on Monday. He was 83. The Dallas County Courthouse Annex will be renamed in honor of Boynton and fellow Civil Rights Movement leader J.L. Chestnut.
“We’ve lost a giant of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama. “Son of Amelia Boynton Robinson, Bruce Boynton was a Selma native whose refusal to leave a “whites-only” section of a bus station restaurant led to the landmark SCOTUS decision in Boynton v. Virginia overturning racial segregation in public transportation, sparking the Freedom Rides and end of Jim Crow. Let us be inspired by his commitment to keep striving and working toward a more perfect union.”
Boynton attended Howard University Law School in Washington D.C. He was arrested in Richmond, Virginia, in his senior year of law school for refusing to leave a “whites-only” section of a bus station restaurant. That arrest and conviction would be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where Boynton and civil rights advocates prevailed in the landmark case 1060 Boynton vs. Virginia.
Boynton’s case was handled by famed civil rights era attorney Thurgood Marshal, who would go on to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. The 1960 7-to-2 decision ruled that federal prohibitions barring segregation on interstate buses also applied to bus stations and other interstate travel facilities.
The decision inspired the “Freedom Rides” movement. Some Freedom Riders were attacked when they came to Alabama.
While Boynton received a high score on the Alabama Bar exam, the Alabama Bar prevented him from working in the state for years due to that 1958 trespassing conviction. Undeterred, Boynton worked in Tennessee during the years, bringing school desegregation lawsuits.
Sherrilyn Ifill with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said on social media: “NAACP LDF represented Bruce Boynton, who was an unplanned Freedom Rider (he simply wanted to buy a sandwich in a Va bus station stop & when denied was willing to sue & his case went to the SCOTUS) and later Bruce’s mother Amelia Boynton (in Selma after Bloody Sunday).”
His mother, Amelia Boynton, was an early organizer of the voting rights movement. During the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in 1965, she was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She later co-founded the National Voting Rights Museum and annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma. His father S.W. Boynton was also active in the Civil Rights Movement.
Bruce Boynton worked for several years at a Washington D.C. law firm but spent most of his long, illustrious legal career in Selma, Alabama, with a focus on civil rights cases. He was the first Black special prosecutor in Alabama history and at one point he represented Stokely Carmichael.
This year has seen the passing of a number of prominent Civil Rights Movement leaders, including Troy native Georgia Congressman John Lewis.
Roby warns Americans to be careful this Thanksgiving
Congresswoman Roby urged Alabamians to adjust Thanksgiving holiday activities to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Alabama, warned Alabamians to adjust their Thanksgiving holiday activities to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
“Thanksgiving is a special holiday because it provides us an entire day each year to pause and give thanks for the many blessings we have received,” Roby said. “Particularly amid a global pandemic, the stress and craziness of life often make it easy to lose sight of just how much we have to be thankful for. Whether you are gathering with loved ones or remaining in the comfort of your own home, I hope we all take time to celebrate gratitude – something we may not do enough of these days.”
“As we’ve learned to adjust our daily routines and activities throughout the course of this pandemic, we know this Thanksgiving will not look like those of the past,” Roby said. “Please be mindful of any safety measures and precautions that have been put in place to help protect your family and those around you. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) released guidance that includes a list of low, moderate, and high-risk activities in order to help Alabamians have a safer holiday season. ADPH suggests a few lower risk activities such as having a small dinner with members of your household, preparing and safely delivering meals to family and neighbors who are at high-risk, or hosting a virtual dinner with friends.”
Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, echoed Roby’s warning to be safe this Thanksgiving holiday.
Aderholt said: “I want to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope Thursday is filled with a lot of laughter and gratitude, and that you can share it with friends and family. And while we continue to navigate this Coronavirus pandemic, please stay safe this holiday season.”
On Thursday, the CDC encouraged families to stay home as much as possible over the holiday weekend and avoid spreading the coronavirus.
“As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with,” the CDC said in a statement before the holiday. “Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”
The CDC has updated its guidelines to encourage families to stay home during the holiday.
- The CDC said that postponing Thanksgiving travel is the “best way to protect” against the virus.
- If you are sick or anyone in your household is sick, whether you think it is COVID or not, do not travel.
- If you are considering traveling for Thanksgiving, avoid traveling to locations where virus activity is high or increasing.
- Avoid travel to areas where hospitals are already overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19.
- Try to avoid traveling by bus, train or airplane, where staying 6 feet apart is difficult.
- Avoid traveling with people who don’t live with you.
- You should consider making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying travel until the vaccine is available or the pandemic is more under control.
- Discuss with your family and friends the risks of traveling for Thanksgiving.
- Try to dissuade people from visiting this holiday.
- If you do travel, check for travel restrictions before you go and get your flu shot before you travel.
- Always wear a mask in public settings, when using public transportation, and when around people with whom you don’t live.
- Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who does not live with you.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
- Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
- When you wear the mask, make sure that it covers your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
Remember that people without symptoms may still be infected, and if so, are still able to spread COVID-19. Remember to always social distance. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Try to also avoid live sporting events, Thanksgiving Day parades and Black Friday shopping this year.
Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District and will be retiring at the end of the year. Aderholt represents Alabama’s 4th Congressional District and was re-elected to the 117th Congress.
Governor announces 3rd year of record Alabama foster care adoptions
In the 2020 fiscal year, there were 814 foster care adoptions, which is an all-time record for the state.
Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced that for the third year in a row Alabama reported a record number of foster care adoptions. In the 2020 fiscal year, there were 814 foster care adoptions, which is an all-time record for the state. That is up from the previous year’s record of 731 adoptions.
“I am so proud that Alabama has set yet another record and placed so many children in permanent homes,” Ivey said. “I am so appreciative for the innovative work of our adoption professionals and the Department of Human Resources, during this unique time, to complete this record number of adoptions. Also, I sincerely thank our foster families, and most importantly, the forever families, for giving these children loving homes and for your sacrifice and love for our children.”
In the 2020 fiscal year, 70.5 percent of children who left foster care, went home to family members or their parent(s). While most children in the state’s foster care system do return to their families, there are still children that need adoptive families.
“This is a truly important milestone in a year that has seen many delays to finalizing adoptions, due to the pandemic. We are proud to have found permanency for these 814 children that deserve forever families,” said Alabama Department of Human Resources Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “We could not have accomplished this milestone without our vital partners in the permanency and adoption process, especially the judges and adoptive parents. However, we must be mindful that the work is not done. We have hundreds of additional children that continue to wait for his or her permanent family. Our staff and others are working hard every day to give these children that needed permanency. There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”
Currently, there are 468 children in Alabama’s foster care system that need forever homes. Ivey also proclaimed November 2020 as National Adoption Month in the state of Alabama.
Brooks cosponsors bill to bar senior Chinese officials from entering U.S.
“Communist China is America’s geopolitical foe,” Brooks said.
Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, this week announced he is cosponsoring the Stop China’s IP Theft Act. This legislation would effectively bar senior Chinese Communist Party officials from entering the United States.
“Communist China is America’s geopolitical foe,” Brooks said. “Communist China unleashed a deadly virus on the world then lied about it. Communist China tries to undermine America at every turn and has a long history of stealing America’s intellectual property. America should make it as difficult as possible for Communist China to work against us and steal from us.”
The bill would ban U.S. issuance of entry visas for Chinese government officials, active-duty members of the Chinese military, and senior members of the Chinese Community Party and their family members.
The Stop China’s IP Theft Act is sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Arizona. The measure is also co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Jody Hice of Georgia, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Greg Steube of Florida, Denver Riggleman of Virginia and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.
Lesko wrote on Twitter: “I am introducing the Stop China’s IP Theft Act to prevent key Chinese officials and their families from entering the U.S. until we can certify that the People’s Republic of China has stopped their efforts to steal U.S. intellectual property.”
In September, the Trump administration’s State Department announced that it revoked more than 1,000 visas of Chinese nationals over their military links. In May, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation to limit visa issuances over potential IP theft concerns.
Chinese theft of American intellectual property, including tech with military applications, has been a problem for decades even as the two countries have grown in their trade relationships. The Stop China’s IP Theft Act is not likely to advance in the Democratic Party-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and time is running out on the 116th Congress.
Brooks was recently elected to his sixth term representing Alabama’s 5th Congressional District. Brooks had no Democratic opponent and he easily bested his Republican primary opponent.