Activists Visit Dothan to Spread Inmate Voting Rights Awareness

By: Jessica Leicht

Under Alabama law, inmates charged with misdemeanors have the right to vote.
The only felons who do not have that right are those who have committed violent crimes or crimes of moral turpitude.
At the Houston County Jail, inmates can request a voter registration form or absentee ballot.
The inmates have to pay for the applications to be sent out and for their ballots to be mailed in.
It’s up to the Registrar’s Office to make sure they are eligible.

“All an inmate at the Houston County Jail has to do is request the forms if they want to vote. We’re not soliciting voters, we’re not forcing people to vote, if they want to vote and they don’t have any felony convictions that prohibit them from voting then they’re welcome to participate. They have the same freedom to vote inside the jail if their eligible as someone on the outside does,” Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes said.

To read more follow this link to WTVY

EVERYDAY IS SELMA : Report from the Southern Movement Assembly 1965-2015 – March 30, 2015

In 1965, Tuskegee students paused at the apex of the Edmund Pettus Bridge and said a silent prayer for Willie Edwards, a 24 year-old Black man who had been thrown into the Alabama River by the Klan eight years before.

In 2015, a new generation of Southern freedom movement fighters walked that same bridge in Selma and paused to remember the many lives that have been lost to racist state violence in the last few years – Michael Brown, Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, Islan Nettles, Rekia Boyd. We remember Ernesto Javier Canepa Diaz who was killed by police on the border and the thousands more that have suffered from deportations, harassment in high schools, unsafe communities, and mass incarceration.

In 1965, community people from Alabama, young people in SNCC & local college students were at the forefront of building southern freedom movement force, making history in Selma and across Dallas, Lowndes, Perry, and Wilcox counties, Alabama. It was these ordinary people, often considered deviants in their own time, who pushed the ministers and other establishment leaders to either join with or get out of the way of a change they knew was possible.

In 2015, as part of the national commemoration of Bloody Sunday, a Southern Movement Assembly (SMA) delegation of almost 100 people, deviants in our own right, converged in Selma to exercise and build our collective power. A sanitized version of history is always more palatable to the establishment of the day. However, as students of our Southern movement history, the SMA delegation fought to shine a light on critical history that shows ordinary people risked their lives and reputations to stand up against the most powerful forces of their day. The Southern Freedom Movement was not a feel good movement – it was a fight hard movement, and today, we are part of  a fight hard movement that is growing the power of our collective action to demand “Enough is Enough.”

To continue reading please download the entire report here by clicking on the image below:51e442_2b2ccb68747e4c50ad55cda84b2913bf

A People’s Victory on the Bridge in Selma

51e442_faf8286c7ea046d8a3fae09afdf89646

At the 50th commemoration of Selma, it was ordinary people, who do extraordinary things, at the lead and at the center of the 70,000 people gathered who marched across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge. As rumors and misinformation fly around the internet about what happened in Selma this weekend, our Southern Movement Assembly delegation want to amplify the powerful reasons why there were no big celebrities leading the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge 50 years after Bloody Sunday.

While the TV preachers, famous speakers and their handlers remained at Brown Chapel, local leadership, Rose Sanders Toure made a bold call not to wait. Rose and countless unnamed people have kept the flame of history lit, commemorating the significant moment when state violence attacked the Southern Freedom Movement foot soldiers of 1965 on that bridge. Representing the rising tide of the Formerly Incarcerated People’s Movement, Rev. Kenneth Glasgow has been organizing a ‘Backwards March’ over the bridge since 2007, a week before the Jubilee Crossing to express the need for our movements to ‘go back, get it right, and go forward with everyone who has been forgotten or left behind.’

On March 8, 2015, under the gaze of a national spotlight, the people’s movement started with a Backwards March of formerly incarcerated people, youth, elder movement veterans, international refugees, LGBTQ folks, and grassroots organizers. Those who fight on every frontline, resisted being erased by the idea of individual, iconic leadership by wearing bright gold banners that read: We are the Peoples Movement, Leadership from the Bottom-up. The Backwards March parted at the bottom of the bridge, and Rev. Glasgow with The Ordinary Peoples Society (TOPS) led the march back over the bridge with Rose, the Southern People’s Movement Assembly, and partner organizations.

In 2015, 50 years later, it was the People’s Movement of today that reclaimed the bridge for the people, for our collective memories, and for the current frontline battles against state violence, economic displacement, mass incarceration, and injustice.  As Rev. Glasgow says in this short video highlighting this victory: “The people are tired. We will not wait. . . . Enough is Enough. Unite to Fight.”

The Southern Movement Assembly recognizes the fierce leadership of local Alabama freedom fighters past, present & future and is calling for action over the next two years to grow the Southern Freedom Movement of the 21st century with the Southern People’s Initiative.

VIDEO OF HIDDEN HISTORY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKswBq4v3q4
MORE ON THE BACKWARDS MARCH: http://www.theroot.com/articles/history/2015/03/the_contradictions_of_selma50.1.html

MORE PHOTOS: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/116624007298117539119/albums/6124666795467795377

51e442_573ab085651a4f019c37d131d77f348b

Everyday is Selma: SMA Delegation Converges in Alabama for 50th Anniversary

51e442_f3171d2a1d4348258a07fbfc2f85d50b

Everyday is Selma: No One is Free Until Everyone is Free

​In 1965, Tuskegee students paused at the apex of the Edmund Pettus Bridge and said a silent prayer for Willie Edwards, a 24 year-old Black man who had been thrown into the Alabama River by the Klan eight years before.

In 2015, a new generation of Southern freedom movement fighters will walk that same bridge in Selma and pause to remember the many lives that have been lost to racist state violence in the last few years – Mike Brown, Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, Islan Nettles, Rekia Boyd. We remember Ernesto Javier Canepa Diaz who was killed by police on the border and the thousands more that have suffered from deportations, harassment in high schools, unsafe communities, and mass incarceration.

The Southern Freedom Movement converges in Selma this weekend, March 7-9, 2015 to recognize that the fight for voting rights is a fight for political power. We recognize the danger and strength of claiming our political power in a moment when institutions are telling us that murder, disenfranchisement, and economic displacement are allowable, legitimate, and justifiable. We name state violence as the cause of our people’s suffering through both neglect and direct proliferation of the many atrocities that occur in the lives of our people.

Everyday is Bloody Sunday. Glory Kilanko, founder and director of Women Watch Afrika made that statement on a recent weekly call with Southern movement leaders. Our international delegation of over 50 people from 15 organizations and 6 Southern states represents Black communities, youth, elders, families, Muslim & Latino immigrants, LGBTQ communities, and formerly incarcerated people.

On this historic weekend and on this historic site, we recognize the forced removal of indigenous people from this land, Bloody Sunday, the March to Montgomery that followed, the powerful resistance of youth movements, and the legacy of ordinary people, then and now, fighting for extraordinary demands to live full, productive, and dignified lives.

Everyday is Bloody Sunday: No One is Free Until Every One is Free

We’re Online!
Whether you can join us in Selma, or want to watch at home, be sure to follow these events and more by checking the following social media outlets for up-to-date happenings on the ground this weekend!

Hashtags:
#SelmaisNow
#SouthernPeoplesPower
#RememberResistance

Twitter: @projectsouth

FB: Southern Movement Alliance

Ustream: Southern Movement Assembly

For more communication from the Southern Movement Assembly & to find out how to get involved, sign up here!

Where We’ll Be!
Coming to Selma but not sure what to attend? Here’s a few options recommended by the Southern Movement Assembly delegation!

Saturday:
12-2pm Southern People’s Initiative at First Baptist Church, Selma
5-8pm Community Dinner at New Selmont Church, 215 Selmont Ave. Selma, AL

Sunday:
12pm: Lineup for the action & Backwards March on the Montgomery-side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge

The More You Know: Alabama’s People’s History
Be sure to read more of the people’s history of Alabama by checking out the following:

Montgomery Advertiser article that celebrates SNCC and Student Movements in Alabama from 1965

“This should not be a celebration; it should be an observance of what happened in 1965 – and that which preceded it to make it possible, and that which happened afterward to carry it forward.” Gwen Patton, 2015, USA Today

People’s History about Willie Edwards told by Gwen Patton, SNCC veteran and Project South founder

Celebrating local leadership in Selma

Rev. Kenneth Glasgow wins historic victory in Alabama for voting rights

Angela Corey is the Bull Connor of Today

By Stephanie Guilloud, Project South Co-Director

As Project South heads down to Jacksonville, Florida for Marissa Alexander’s final hearing, we reflect on our work in alliance with New Jim Crow Movement over the last two and a half years of confrontation with DA Angela Corey’s version of state violence.

In 1965, Bull Connor in Birmingham and Sheriff Jim Clark in Selma represented the face of white supremacy and were important guardians of cruelty protecting Jim Crow South as local law enforcement. In public protests, they knocked heads into concrete, tear gassed crowds, and unapologetically defended organized racism. Angela Corey, the top cop District Attorney in Florida’s 4th district represents the face of this history today, reflecting a growing trend of 21st century racist cruelty that incarcerates teenagers and domestic abuse survivors while letting murderers walk out without consequence.

Corey’s version of legal terror uses the courts instead of the streets to remind us ‘who is boss’ by enforcing public and racist hostility. Her attack on Marissa Alexander is not just about punishing one woman. After Marissa won an appeal and secured a second trial that threw out a 20-year sentence, Angela Corey ran an intimidation campaign, announcing publicly that she would seek a 60-year sentence in the new trial.  As much as this fight feels like a personal vendetta, Corey has built her entire career on excessive punitive practices that have set wild records for over-sentencing and sending disproportionate numbers of juveniles to adult court. Corey’s actions in Marissa’s case are directly connected to punishing the growing movement that has risen to confront the public killings of Trayvon Martin in Sanford FL and Jordan Davis in Jacksonville FL, where she also served as prosecutor. Forced into a plea deal that will keep her under state surveillance and detained at her home for two more years, Marissa is part of growing trends in incarceration that force plea deals and keep more and more people under state control in their own homes.

As in the days of Bull Connor, people have not remained silent in the face of this brutality. Social movements are rising again to confront racist violence and the legal frameworks that protect it.

On April 26, 2013, Marissa’s mother Ms. Jenkins attended the second Southern Movement Assembly anchored by the New Jim Crow Movement in a park on the historically Black Northside of Jacksonville. Under an old army tent, donated by a local church, a participant read a heartfelt letter written by Marissa to the entire assembly of 250 representatives from 10 states. We stormed the Duval County Courthouse the next day, and the Southern Movement Assembly participants committed to both Marissa’s individual fight for freedom and the broader pattern of injustice that this case represents.

A few months after that on July 14, 2013, Angela Corey was smiling at the press conference that announced Zimmerman’s acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Grassroots movements sprung into action, and the Southern Movement Assembly organized the Walk for Dignity from Jacksonville to Sanford. The call from Aleta Alston-Toure of Jacksonville was met by hundreds of people, over 50 organizations, churches, and community groups. We walked for two demands: Free Marissa Alexander & Fire Angela Corey. This ongoing fight has galvanized new generations of active communities who say: Enough is Enough.

On the eve of her release into home detention, we recognize the incredible grassroots movements in Florida, around the South, and across the country that have made sure that Marissa’s case was part of a national dialogue and that also made important connections between this case and the growing impunity for violence we see in our communities.

For more on Angela Corey’s impact on Jacksonville: Check out Timeline

For more on Jacksonville PMA #BlackWomen’sLivesMatter: Click here

Southern People’s Initiative

Principles of Unity

Southern Movement Assembly Principles of Unity

The principles that connect the members of the Southern Movement Assembly reflect many years of organizational partnerships and a synthesis of ideas based in collective practice and historical example. The principles serve to name who we are, what we believe, and our purpose for working together to regenerate and advance the Southern Freedom Movement in the 21st Century. Affirming these principles affirms the foundational belief that we are stronger together, and we do not want to do this alone. To work and be together is a political decision; we are not doing it for either comfort or practicality. These principles will be evaluated & evolved periodically.

  1. We believe remembering and regenerating our movement history is critical. We recognize the long-term legacies and the most recent work that led to this moment.

  2. We value and practice transparency. We strive to distinguish between perception and reality.

  3. We respect and support locally-based leadership. Place & space matter, and we recognize the unique histories of the South and local sites.

  4. We create spaces to assemble so that people can voice our truths and bring our whole selves. We stand against criminalizing our people in any way.

  5. We recognize and respect the self-determination of each organization and strive to engage in principled dialogue when disagreement or conflict is a barrier to collective action.

  6. We believe political direction is determined by big picture analysis grounded in struggle to dismantle white supremacy, economic exploitation, and colonialism while simultaneously building decolonization processes for liberation of all people.

  7. We believe no one should be excluded from any form of governance that makes decisions about their lives.

  8. We believe in and respect the diversity of tactics and strategies as we are working for liberation. We believe there are many ways to do this work. We respect the different organizing choices and traditions of our member organizations.

  9. We recognize and value the skills, contributions, and resources that each community, individual and organization brings and will prioritize Collective Accessibility in how and where we assemble and share information. We commit to maximizing those contributions for our collective goals.

  10. We will defend the ground we have gained through struggle, and we will create and practice new forms of participation and governance that include and serve all of us.