Where do we go from here?

Dear Members of the MPA Community,

Two nights ago, I attended the NAACP’s Emergency Virtual Town Hall: A Nation in Peril.  Like many of you, I have been saddened and disheartened by recent events, and wanted some direction on what I can do to support our Black brothers and sisters.  The panelists were Derrick Johnson, President & CEO, NAACP, Representative Val Demmings (D-CA), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dr. Cedric Alexander, Retired Public Safety Director, Dekalb Co, GA, and the moderator was Keith Boykin, CNN Political Commentator.

The overarching questions of the night were: where do we go from here?  What do we, as a community, do next?  What are viable actions we can take to affect change?  These are big, tough questions, but they are questions that I believe MPA has been asking since our formation in 2017.

The common refrain from the panelists centered on a message of momentum – we cannot let the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others become part of a cycle wherein the everyday reality of being a Black American is recorded and publicized by the media, we are outraged momentarily, then we all go back to “normal.”  Instead, we must keep up a sustained movement where we fight for systemic policy change.  Just like the catalyst for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 started with protests in the streets, we must start our push for change at the grassroots level and continue it all the way to the voting booth in November.

Rep. Demmings said she is very encouraged by the fact that unlike protests leading up to the CRA and VRA, these recent protests have included people from all ages, all backgrounds, all races and ethnicities. Senator Booker said that our next march must be to the polls to hold our federal, state and local officials accountable.  Dr. Alexander encouraged us all to take our anger and our rage and turn it into something that will take us somewhere – the voting booth, a representative’s office – share your concerns constructively, but hold these individuals accountable.

Derrick Johnson closed with something that really struck me, and I believe struck at the heart of many of the efforts MPA has made as a group.  He reminded everyone that elections have consequences – our nation’s response to the global pandemic is a result of choices made in 2016.  Increased police brutality is a result of choices made in 2016.  High unemployment and high rates of COVID infection in Black communities are a result of choices made in 2016.

In a democracy, our disputes are settled at the polling place.  If we don’t take that seriously, we find ourselves having to react to bad public policy and bad policy choices by our leaders.

We need to be deliberate about choosing who gets to sit in seats of power and who makes decisions about our livelihood.  We can’t start to make systemic changes to systemic problems unless we change who these leaders and decision makers are.  We have all been working hard to affect change in our community and in our state, and we must keep fighting.

If you haven’t already, download the form to join the Shelby County NAACP.

You can donate to Black Lives Matter, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Campaign Zero, Reclaim the Block, and The Bail Project among many other organizations working on the front lines of these issues.

You can support local groups like Alabama Arise and Alabama Appleseed, who are working to address issues caused by systemic racism within our state. You can be more deliberate about supporting Black owned businesses – @bhamnow has been highlighting Black owned businesses on their Instagram for about a week now.  You can also use your own social media to amplify Black voices.

However you do it, stay engaged and keep up the fight!

Andrea


MPA Steering Committee

Andrea Eckelman
Cheryl Patton
Jen Rickel
Amy Feger
Scott Turner
Facebook: Montevallo Progressive Alliance
Instagram: @montevalloprogressives

 

We’re back! Next meeting (1/23) and Montevallo MLK March

MPA 2020 FlyeHappy New Year MPA!

We hope everyone had a wonderful and restful holiday season.  Our January meeting is next Thursday, January 23 at 6PM at St. Andrews (click here to download a flyer, please share!).  We will be joined by two guests, Debbie Smith with Alabama Arise and Dana Sweeney with Alabama Appleseed.  Please join us for dinner, a postcard action, and to hear from both Debbie and Dana!  We need volunteers to help with dinner – please follow this link to sign up:
 

Other Announcements:

Just Mercy, a newly released film about Bryan Stevenson, is now playing in theaters.  If you get a chance, grab a friend and go check it out! 
 
This Monday, we will be celebrating MLK Day. Plan to come out for the MLK March in Montevallo, Monday, January 20, 2020. At 9 AM we’ll line up behind McDonalds on Main St for a march to the Montevallo HS for a program honoring Shelby Co “firsts.”  University of Montevallo Chief of Police Tim Alexander will be Marshall as well as guest speaker at the program. The theme is “Dr. King’s 20/20 Vision: The Beloved Community: The Fierce Urgency of Now.” For more information, call 205-902-5137 or 205-915-0787.

Meeting this Thursday (8/22)

68909705_2373974672923879_4806398450985861120_o

Hello Friends!

Just a reminder that our monthly meeting will be this Thursday, August 22 at 6PM at St Andrews.  Jack Jacobs will be speaking to us about upcoming events with Shelby County Democrats as well as 2020 elections.
Also, if you are able, please bring non-perishable items for the Little Free Pantry at St Andrews.  There is a great need in our community for these items, so please bring anything you can to place in the pantry.
The University of Montevallo is also collecting for their Food Pantry, so if you’d like to donate to that, bring items to the meeting and Andrea will collect them.
See you Thursday!

April Meeting – Alabama Arise – EJI Visit

Our April meeting is this Thursday, April 25 at 6PM at St Andrews.  We will be celebrating Earth Day with Susan Caplow, professor of Environmental Studies.  Please join us for dinner and the chance to visit with your fellow progressives!

We are also going to become a member organization of Alabama Arise to help lend our voice to their efforts in Montgomery and beyond.  The membership fee is $100, and we will be taking up a donation on Thursday for anyone who wishes to contribute.  If you won’t be at the meeting but want to contribute, email montevalloprogressives@gmail.com.  

In lieu of our May meeting, we are getting a group together to visit EJI’s Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.  We are planning our visit for Sunday May 19, and will carpool from Montevallo (time is still TBD, but it will likely be 11 or so).  We will meet in the parking lot behind UMOM (Valley St behind the Citgo at the corner of Valley and Middle St).  Please email montevalloprogressives@gmail.com if you plan to attend so that we can get a rough headcount, and please tell your friends and family that might want to join!

We hope to see you all Thursday!
MPA Steering Committee
Andrea Eckelman
Cheryl Patton
Jen Rickel
Amy Feger
Scott Turner