Friday, January 30, 2015

#NewsBham- Billboard Wars: Another Controversial Sign Removed by Citizen Censorship

If you recall, recently an ultra right wing, white supremacist billboard was installed on I/59. 

It was linked to League of the South, who according to their website, is "...a Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic." (Full Story)
The sign was soon removed, but not before it received moderate, if short lived, media attention. 

Now there has been another billboard (pic at top of page) removed due to complaints from the community. Only this time the billboard, located in Mobile, Alabama, was not one of those designed to create white fear of the concept of diversity, or to push the propaganda of League of the South. This time the sign read "Don't believe in a god? You're not alone." with a website address listed along the bottom: ( The Gulf Coast Coalition of Reason)

The Gulf Coast Coalition of Reason is an atheist organization representing a coalition of interests operating in and around the Gulf Coast.  
"...made up of atheist, freethought, and humanist groups working together in the Gulf Coast area. Our twin goals are to foster a sense of community among the like minded and raise public awareness that people who don't believe in a god or gods can be decent citizens who contribute to the larger society.
"So, if you are of a secular mind, you aren't alone. Thousands of your friends and neighbors in this area think and feel as you do. And there are local groups that advance your views and welcome your participation! This website will help you find events to attend, activities in which to participate, people with whom to socialize, and groups to join."

They promote secular events, spread news about issues relevant to those people not affiliated with, or interested in organized religion and offer networking connections. They provide social media interaction and inter-connectivity with a loosely knit group of organizations on the Florida, Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast. 

The group seems very peaceful according to their mission statement, an excerpt of which reads:
"To the traditional religious community we want to say that, although we nontheists are without a belief in the supernatural, we do share the compassionate human values that most people embrace. As hard working, tax-paying, ethical citizens, we care deeply about our families, our communities, our state, our nation, and the world."
There is no mention of use of force and no intent to supplant elected officials by force mentioned anywhere in their literature. 

The sign, mounted on a billboard owned by Lamar, was taken down two weeks before the end of the agreed upon contract period. Asked about the reason for its removal, a Lamar representative stated that Lamar had received complaints about the sign's content. He also claims to have offered The Gulf Coast Coalition of Reason a reimbursement for the two weeks of advertising lost to the group. 

It is not clear at this time if further legal action will be taken by COR, in regard to either the remaining two weeks paid, or demanding further advertising.         

Monday, January 26, 2015

#NewsBham - #BlackLivesMatter Birmingham Schedules New Protest for 5 Points West

Black Lives Matter Birmingham has announced a new protest scheduled for January 31st at 12pm (noon), at the intersection of 20th Street and Bessemer Rd. in 5 Points West.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

#NewsBham - US Navy Lifts Long Time Ban, Lets Women Sail on Subs

Navy Times today announced that in the spirit of the US Navy's trend toward acceptance of diversity, female enlisted sailors will now be allowed to join submarine crews.
Interested candidates will be considered for inclusion into a "phased integration" which is scheduled to coalesce into complete integration by 2020. 

The Navy already includes women officers on a number of Submarines. Enlisted female sailors will begin training and placement for current ballistic-missile submarines over the next five years. By 2020 the plan is for them to be fully integrated into new Virginia-class Block IV/V attack submarines as they become available.

"Today, an historical NAVADMIN was released, and I’m pleased to announce that the Navy will commence integration of enlisted women into the submarine service.  Integrating female enlisted Sailors into the Submarine Force is a natural next step to the complete integration of women in the Navy overall. Our community continues to expand, grow and improve as we welcome both officer and enlisted women. There are very capable Sailors who have the talent and desire to succeed in the submarine force and in the past we haven’t been able to call upon them. Drawing from a full pool of Sailor talent will help the Navy maintain the world’s best Submarine Force as well as provide a greater range of service options and career opportunities for our female shipmates." - Rear Admiral Charles A. “Chas” Richard
 See full story

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

#NewsBham- @SenShelby Reacts to State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC, Tuesday, January 20, 2015 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today released the following statement regarding President Obama’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress:

“Tonight’s address from President Obama was once again heavy on rhetoric and light on real solutions for families and businesses across the nation.  Voters sent a strong message in November that they are dissatisfied with the growing role of government in their lives, yet the President failed to discuss his plans to work with Republicans in Congress on addressing these important concerns.

“The President’s address tonight did not include plans to rescind his decision to circumvent Congress and unilaterally grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.  It failed to outline a way to provide the American people with relief from the destructive impacts of Obamacare.  We also did not hear about his plans to enact policies that will reenergize the private sector and encourage job growth or to work with Republicans on common sense ideas to boost our nation’s energy independence such as allowing construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  

“I believe that Alabamians – and all Americans – deserve better than more of the same failed tax and spend policies from this Administration. That is why I urge President Obama to join us in supporting policies that get Washington out of the way and create economic conditions to give the American people an opportunity to succeed.”

#NewsBham- President Obama to Visit Selma for Bloody Sunday Anniversary

Photo: Matt Michrina
According to the White House, President Barack Obama will visit Selma, March 7th, for the 50th anniversary of historic civil rights marches across the state and to highlight the anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

March 7 marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when civil rights marchers were met by Alabama State Troopers, at the behest of then Governor George Wallace, at the Edmond Pettus Bridge. The brutal response from law enforcement, as well as white vigilante gangs, which left hundreds of marchers severely beaten and Rev. James Reeb, a civil rights worker from Boston,dead, helped shine a light on the plight of black Americans and played a pivotal role in passage of the Voting Rights Act. 

The Obamas also recently hosted a private screening of "Selma" for the movie's cast and crew.

#NewsBham- Live: Watch President Obama Give State of the Union Address 8pm Central

Tonight at 8pm Central Time, President Obama is scheduled to give his sixth State of the Union Address to a Joint Session of Congress. With the recent victories of the GOP President Obama will be speaking to a decidedly lopsided audience.

He is expected to discuss the consistent job growth under his administration, reduction of the unemployment rate to its current 5.6 percent and how this effects the middle class and working families, especially how much they have or have not benefited relative to wealthy Americans.

He will likely also defend his tax breaks for the middle class along with tax increases on large investment income. 


Friday, January 16, 2015

#NewsBham- @SharrifSimmons Announces the End Of @BAAMfest, Birmingham Arts and Music Festival

Founded in 2010, Birmingham Arts and Music Festival (BAAM!) was a weekend-long festival presenting local arts & music.

BAAM Transitioned from a large multi-venue event with over 150 performances in 2010 through several park events, culminating in the final event known as Avondale Music and Art Festival, presented by BAAM. Overall the events showcased hundreds of local musicians and artists.

In a social media post today, Sharrif Simmons, founder of BAAMfest announced the "end of BAAM."

"It is with a heavy heart and ecstatic adulation that I announce the end of BAAM! Thank you for the memories's been a wild, bizarre, crazy ride. One of my most successful failures ever!! But what's next...ahh..what's next will amaze you!!"

Sharrif Simmons is well known in Birmingham for his community activism, especially in the realm of the arts and poetry. He has long been a champion of local arts, equality and social harmony. In his post he indicates something next. Whether that will be another arts festival or something entirely new stands to be seen. However, Simmons involvement in promoting local arts will undoubtedly continue unabated, in many different forms.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

#NewsBham- Alabama ACLU Calls on Winfield Leaders to Rescind "One City Under God" Proclamation

In a letter to Mayor Price and the Winfield City Council the legal director of The Alabama ACLU calls on the city leaders to rescind the "One City Under God" proclamation. 

"Dear Mayor Price and members of the City Council: 

 "Please be advised that the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama has received complaints from City of Winfield residents concerning the enactment of a resolution acknowledging God as “the owner of the City of Winfield and that it is a City under God,” as well as other proclamations intertwining the City with religious beliefs. The full resolution states:

Whereas we acknowledge God is the owner of the City of Winfield and that it is a City under God. We acknowledge that at all times, He is in control.  

Whereas, we acknowledge that through His leadership, the Mayor and City Council will seek his wisdom and knowledge to be good stewards of the city.  

Whereas, we acknowledge that though prayer, with His guidance and presence, that we will be able to trust that no problem will be too large or too small to overcome.  

Whereas, we acknowledge that the City of Winfield is where it is today because of God’s grace and mercy.  

Whereas, we acknowledge that at all times and in all circumstances, His will shall be done.  

Whereas, we acknowledge that to God be the glory.   

"As public officials sworn to uphold and defend the United States Constitution, I am sure that you are aware that the First Amendment prohibits government from taking any action toward establishment of  religion. The Constitution protects private assertions of faith, but absolutely prohibits government involvement in those same matters. That prohibition extends both to religion in general and to particular belief systems such as Christianity. That the resolution is generic does not matter. Such actions are not inclusive or welcoming of people of all faiths and beliefs and is bad policy. City government should remain neutral on matters of religion. 

 "Our concern is that the resolution has all the appearances of a government act whether or not it has any effect in law. The resolution is an official action of the City. This matter has attracted a great deal of press attention and damage has certainly been done to the principle of separation of Church and State. We believe that remedial measures are required and call upon the City of Winfield to take formal action to rescind the resolution by separate resolution of the City Council.  

 "I strongly recommend that you turn this matter over to your legal counsel and that the City promptly take corrective action."  

- Randall C. Marshall
   Legal Director (ACLU of Alabama)

According to a local source who sent us several transcripts, the mayor responded in an interview and The Journal Register published an editorial titled "The Gospel Truth," further supporting the proclamation.

"It seems nothing can stir up passions more than God. And it is getting stirred up pretty good here in Marion County." the editorial in The Journal Record starts out. 

The editorial mentions several blogs which have picked up this story and decries the wording and tenor of those stories as falsely representative of the proclamation. The paper also further defends the proclamation as representative of the spirit of The Constitution.  

"In all seriousness, we have to point out that freedom of religion is still in the Constitution. There are not many Muslims, Jews, Hindu and the like in Winfield or Marion County, but they are protected and welcome to practice their religion as they like here. That is what people came to this country for. We do not have a state church and never will. And if one doesn’t want to believe in God, they are protected, too. But it is a nation founded on Christian principles and concepts, and that is even reflected on our coins and dollar bills. But outside of a few reminders--a prayer to start a meeting, a motto on a coin, a public Christmas decoration-- we don’t force a way of life on anyone.

" Truthfully, the pushback against religion in public life--a demonstration that has been token at best, especially in recent years--has taken to the ridiculous and the insulting, as much of the political correctness that seems to be all around us. We think people in general are getting tired of it.

"It was an unusual way, enough that it was news. Would we have done it this way? Maybe not. Was the resolution necessary for the conduct of government? Not at all. Could it be overdone to the point of pandering to the public? See Roy Moore for that answer."

After further hyperbole, the editorial goes on with a direct response to "The atheists." 

"The atheists would probably do well to wait. There seems to be a rise in this country in the number of people who are not concerned with religion or church, as well as those who do not believe in God. Maybe one day, as is said to be the case in Europe, a growing number of our churches will be museums or other renovated spaces.

 "However, our value system in small-town Alabama is quite different. Mind you, this sort of action can be used to the extreme by either side of the argument, and we fear that is what is going to take place now. Bigger issues should be concentrated on instead of making a big religious war, which, frankly, the atheists appear to want to start.

"In the end, we would not change our first editorial--except maybe to say that if God is really to be pleased, He would not be so much concerned about whether He owns a city as whether the individuals there take faith and ownership of His Kingdom and the work that results. That would lead to feeding the poor, tending to the widows, finding homes for the needy, assisting single mothers with children, providing a decent wage for workers, providing medical assistance to the needy. It is nice to pass a resolution, but the individual heartbased work of Christ should be more our priority and our greater witness for Him. As Marley told Scrooge, mankind is our business."

-Journal Register Editorial (via:anonymous local source)

In general, the editorial continues with a defense of Christianity and the reasons Christ's teachings are good for society.    

According to an email sent to Underbelly Ham here are some quotes from Mayor Price in his interview with The Journal Record. The resident of Winfield is currently choosing to remain anonymous out of concern for his family and possible repercussions.  

"People do not understand the point of this issue."

"This is not about any level of government sponsoring a religion. I would not be for a government in our country endorsing any religion, even Christianity. This is simply a way for our community to say we are grateful for the blessings we have enjoyed and we also acknowledge that all things do belong to God."

He referenced the fact that the resolution was the council's effort to respond to the chaos now prevalent in society, citing the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and the shooting of New York City police officers. 

"From the start of this great nation, our forefathers tried to build a nation on Christian principles. I am not saying any of them wanted the government to pick our religion, but that was the basic morals of what was right and wrong were based on the Scriptures. We need to return to basic human decency and try to live by the rules of the good book."

"This old world will only continue to be as bad as it is, if some of the people in this country do not begin to stand up for what is right."

"Too many times we all want to wait for someone else to take a stand. But we have to realize each of us can try to do something. I am not trying to push my faith on anybody, but I do believe we must stop and do something or this world will never be any better. Do I regret taking this action? No."

"Never have I said every person living in winfield must be a Christian has some emails have suggested. Never what I say that."

"I realize not everyone is a Christian and that is certainly there right. I support the right to choose their fate or do have no faith. That is not what this is about. This is simply trying to acknowledge the gifts we have been provided as a city. Nor am I out here trying to push any denomination in the Christian faith. This is about being grateful for what we have and acknowledging the source of those gifts."

"Others noted that God owns the universe so he had already on our city, but they are missing the point. I am disappointed folks cannot see the point of why the action was taken. God has been taken out of everything. It is a given that He is God of the universe, but we want to acknowledge that our town realizes and acknowledges that God is still in control and that we need His leadership and guidance."
"Despite what some have said, our having the courage to acknowledge God's blessings on this city does not mean that non-Christians are not welcome in our city. We already have a lot of people who live here who are not Christians in some form or fashion. And we are glad they have chosen to live here as many of them are our friends. But this was just to say we are grateful for what we have."

Update: (1/15/15 12:46pm)-

Taken from The Journal Ledger:  
Saturday’s Journal Record.

• For the benefit of the atheists upset about the Winfield resolution on God: Please look up Romans 1:16 and you will see where I stand. Thank you very much. Oh, and when you come to town to file all those lawsuits you are threatening, please stop and eat and buy gas so we can make some money off of you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#NewsBham- Principal in Valley Alabama Wants to Stockpile Cans of Food for Students to Throw at Shooters

CHAMBERS COUNTY: Principal Priscella Holley of W.F. Middle School in Valley Alabama says students can use cans of food to defend themselves in the event of a school shooting.

“As a result of school shootings throughout the United States and discussing with law enforcement on the best procedure to follow to keep our students safe, we are enhancing our procedure for intruders.”

According to an AP story released yesterday,  Principal Holley sent out a letter to parents asking them to send their children to school with an 8 ounce canned item.

"We realize at first this may seem odd, however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off guard. The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive...the canned food item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel secure in case an intruder enters their classroom."

This is part of Principal Holley's implementation (interpretation) of ALICE, a program designed to teach schools and businesses how to deal with possible shooters. ALICE stands for Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate. 

"In the horrible event that an active shooter makes his or her way into a school, hospital, church, or business, there are steps that can be taken as an effort to survive an attack. With workplace violence as a rising trend across the United States, the ALICE method is not limited to preventing a school shooting. The ALICE Training Program provides examples for real, effective ways to thwart an active shooter." - ALICE

Superintendent Kelli Hodge told The AP that school staff had been working with Auburn University's Department of Public Safety on training to respond to such emergencies“I can honestly say that the major point of the training is to be able to get kids evacuated and not be sitting ducks hiding under desks.” 

"However, Chance Corbett, Auburn's associate director of public safety, said he had actually referred the school to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for active shooter training after learning Monday that school officials wanted the training.

"The food cans would be stored in classrooms and students wouldn't be carrying them around school," Hodge told the AP.

"Using cans or other items as weapons would be a last resort for students unable to evacuate," she said.

"Teachers are taught to barricade classroom doors if an intruder is in the school, but if that fails, the cans and items such as textbooks could be used, she said." 
"If somebody is going to force their way through, then as the last resort you would start throwing any objects you could get your hands on," Hodge said.
Asked whether throwing cans of food could make a student a target, Hodge said they would already be a target at that point.
"If it comes to the situation that they are forced to do that, then they are a target because they've not been able to evacuate," she said.

"We hope the canned food items will never be used or needed, but it is best to be prepared." Unused cans will be donated to the local food pantry at the end of the year. (Source- AP Jan 13, 2015, Huntsville)

Monday, January 12, 2015

#NewsBham- #WhiteGenocide Billboard Pops Up on I-59

Another billboard decrying anti-white bias has been installed on I-59 near Springville. 

The sign reads "Diversity Means Chasing Down The Last White Person" including  the hashtag #white genocide along the bottom of the sign. (Undoubtedly they intended the two words to be joined together in a hashtag reading #WhiteGenocide)  

This is the third sign to receive media attention in less than two years. In 2013 there was a similar sign posted on I-59, reading "ANTI-RACIST IS A CODE WORD FOR ANTI-WHITE"

In May of last year, a sign reading SECEDE was placed near I-85 in Montgomery including the name of the organization, League of the South, and the address. Although less overtly racial, the SECEDE sign was also claimed by Michael Hill, president of League of the South.

According to their website, League of the South is "...a Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic."  

In what they call "abjuring the realm," The League of the South calls on whites to secede from today's "post Christian," culturally modern world. 

They organize rallies, provide networking, leadership, blogging, book reviews and articles all seemingly designed to spread the word of secession and a return to antebellum white, southern values. 

"While we seek to use shame and contempt to[sic] in exposing the self-serving institutions controlled by the Empire, we must not stop there. We must create our own parallel institutions to which our people can attach their loyalties." - LotS Website

As you can imagine, their targets include anyone in support of immigration reform, civil rights, progressive modernization and various other modern ills, as they would see them. 
"A man is either a propositionalist or a nationalist. There is no middle ground. You either believe in an abstraction such as equality or democracy or you believe in the realities of blood and soil, kith and kin." -Michael Hill
The League of the South even teaches secession from modern, proper English, providing lessons on "Verbal Independence," how to speak old-South and the use of Southern spelling.  

Their website is full of Confederate battle flags, images of white ladies holding anti immigration signs, images of Confederate soldiers, links to books decrying the decay of modern America, and general information on organizing a return to the plantation era South.   

The slogans used on League of the South's billboards, interestingly enough, spring from Northern roots. With the one exception of the billboard reading "SECEDE," the slogans stem from the White Genocide Project and Horus the Avenger's White Rabbit Radio, a white, neo-nazi, nationalist network whose roots are in the Northern US. 

Robert Whitacker's ideology, which espouses integration as a conspiracy to annihilate white people is the primary focus of these groups. The last lines of which read: 
"They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.
Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white."
The White Genocide Project took quick notice of the media coverage of the new sign in Alabama, posting an update on their website and calling for donations to install a similar billboard in the Northern US.  

Also see:

The Daily Dot:  "Whiteness is an artificial sociological construct which has been used throughout history to exclude certain groups of people from the rights guaranteed others and to justify bigoted attitudes..."

Southern Poverty Law Center: The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public.

Racism in America .org

Black Voice News


Friday, January 9, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter Birmingham Showing "Canceled" for Today's Protest

The Black Lives Matter Birmingham Facebook page is currently showing a post claiming today's protest is cancelled.

"This is an official Black Lives Matter-Birmingham announcement."

The announcement was made approximately an hour ago. We will provide any update if this is not official, however it appears to be.

"We are simply a group who wants equality for all the citizens of Birmingham and America regardless of race, religion, economics, or any other category." 

This will be the forth round of protests from BLMB, which to date have included die ins and roadside demonstrations at the Summit, The Galleria, Walmart on Lakeshore Dr. and a march on Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

Each event has involved a diverse group of citizens and no violence from the demonstrators has been reported.   

#NewsBham- Keeping Up w/ What Happened While Heads Were Turned: Friday Best Source World Review

Now, to interrupt your funny cat videos, these things happened around the globe:


Sri Lankan President Concedes Defeat After Startling Upset

Cameroon appeals for international military aid to fight Boko Haram

Charlie Hebdo suspects killed

Nebraska Supreme Court rules on Keystone XL pipeline

Rising Al Shabab attacks in Kenya: Can new officials improve security?

Radical cleric Abu Hamza jailed for life by US court

Israel elections 101: How fractures on political right could hurt Netanyahu

NASA: Forecast Remains Favorable for Saturday; Launch Viewing Options

Should public schools teach how to use guns? Yes, say South Carolina legislators 

China Week: Flag feud and luxury jackets

Cuba reportedly releases 28 political prisoners

Breedlove: Changes Enhance Eucom’s Readiness, Mission Posture 

For The First Time, Scientists Prove Fracking Caused An Earthquake Strong Enough To Be Felt By Humans

Paving Path Towards Climate Goal, Denmark Sets World Record for Wind Power

Thursday, January 8, 2015

#NewsBham - #PoliceLivesMatter Rally Scheduled for Sunday in Downtown Birmingham - #BhamJan11

This Sunday at 3pm there will be a Police Lives Matter rally at the Jefferson County Criminal Justice Center, in front of The Fallen Centurion.

Organizer Scott Morro, a former police officer will created the event to show support for police officers.

"All are invited to show support and solidarity for the police family. ...we say, don't put us all in one group of a bunch of thug police who go out looking to victimize society. That's not true. We are there to serve and protect and oftentimes it's in adversarial situations and sometimes we have to use deadly force. But there are mechanisms in place to scrutinize that and make sure it's done appropriately."

Monday, January 5, 2015

#NewsBham - Suspect Surrenders in Cypress Gardens Apartments Murder

 From Hoover Police Department-

Hoover Police received a 911 call at 12:13 this afternoon from a friend of a resident at Cypress Gardens Apartments. The 19 year old female caller reported that her friend’s mother was dead inside their apartment at 3124 Carousel Court. She also reported that she and the 18 year old friend had both been physically beaten and bound by the same suspect. Responding officers found the 18 and 19 year old victims in the parking lot. Both had their hands and feet bound with duct tape but both were able to escape the apartment after the suspect fled. The 19 year old was also sexually assaulted. 

Officers then discovered the 34 year old female victim deceased in an upstairs bedroom. Preliminary indications (pending an autopsy by the Medical Examiner) are that she was assaulted by the suspect with his hands and a knife. The victim was pronounced deceased on the scene by Hoover Fire Department paramedics. 

The two surviving victims were able to provide officers the identity and vehicle description of the suspect. A BOLO advisory was then broadcast to surrounding agencies. There was increased urgency to arrest this subject because he left the crime scene with his five year old daughter. He and the deceased victim (mother of the five year old) had previous disputes over visitation arrangements. An AMBER alert was issued due to concern over the child’s safety. 

At approximately 2:30 p.m. the suspect surrendered himself at the Dallas County Alabama Jail. The five year old was found unharmed with relatives in the Selma area. The suspect was transferred to the Hoover City Jail around 8:00 p.m. tonight.

Jeffery Dewayne Mixon, 34 years old, of Hoover, will be formally charged with murder tomorrow. 

The victim is identified as: Victoria Jeanetta Morrow 34 years old from Hoover, AL 

The Hoover Police Department sends its deepest sympathies to the Morrow family and friends. Please remember them in your thoughts and prayers, thank you.

#NewsBham- #BlackLivesMatter Birmingham Calls for Supporters to Shut Down Edmund Pettus Bridge January 7


Black Lives Matter Birmingham has called for supporters to join the Black Lives Matter - Selma shutdown of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. 

"#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ This is a non-violent protest! We are fighting for the rights of Blacks Across the Country ! We invite you to the Black Lives Matter Protest in Selma, Al! Black #BlackLivesMatter ‪#‎ShutDown‬ ‪#‎EdmundPettusBridge‬! POWER TO THE PEOPLE! We Won't Stop!!!!!"

The Edmund Pettus Bridge is a well known civil rights destination, recently declared a historic landmark, and the location of the infamous "Bloody Sunday" clash between Alabama State Troopers and civil rights marchers led by Martin Luther King Jr. 

During the marches in 1965 Alabama State Troopers, under the leadership of then Governor George Wallace, blocked the bridge and brutally beat demonstrators, attracting worldwide attention and contributing to the sentiment which helped pass the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

After the second bridge crossing a mob severely beat Pastor James Reeb a civil rights activist with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who later died from his injuries.    

"James Reeb, symbolizes the forces of good will in our nation. He demonstrated the conscience of the nation. He was an attorney for the defense of the innocent in the court of world opinion. He was a witness to the truth that men of different races and classes might live, eat, and work together as brothers" - Martin Luther King Jr.

This Wednesday's shutdown will precede by several months the upcoming 50th anniversary of the bridge crossing, which is celebrated yearly in the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. While this year's Jubilee is significant due to the 50th anniversary of the crossing, each year it is estimated that 30,000 people attend the gathering, among them many of the original marchers. 

BLMB has also called for supporters to attend the 50th Anniversary Jubilee which is to be held in Selma, March 5-9th. 

The Bridge Crossing Jubilee hosts many events such as arts, workshops, banquets, music and other activities and attracts people from all over the world, including many celebrities and politicians.  
"The mission of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee is to preserve, commemorate, educate and raise awareness about the Voting Rights Movement, and the importance of voting rights and human rights today. In pursuit of this mission, Bridge Crossing Jubilee is held annually and attracts participation from thousands of people across the Nation and particularly from near by Black Belt Counties. In the late 1990's, the Jubilee incorporated public education as a major goal of the Jubilee because it is the key to ending the school to prison pipeline and also the key to an educated and informed electorate." -

This Wednesday's Shutdown is scheduled for 12 noon and organizers are asking protestors to wear all black in support of the movement. It was announced on a newly created Facebook page:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

#NewsBham- @FreePressMusic @Sunvarmint Hashtag Suggestions for Events

We search out and repost anything which has been hashtagged with this system: #Bham+three letter date symbol+number character for that day.

Examples: #BhamJan30, #BhamFeb6, #BhamMar10 etc. 

If you would like another way to have control over sharing your events or other content we welcome your use of these tags.

You may also tag us directly at one or all of the following:

on Twitter:

or use the hashtag #NewsBham 

Events shared through our FreePressMusic network will use these hashtags, and if you use them on Twitter, it will automatically go into our pages. Usefulness on Facebook is unpredictable, due to the various privacy settings. But if yours are wide open we will see it. If you need to, just tag us directly. 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

#NewsBham - #BlackLivesMatter - Bham Announces Next Protest -#BhamJan9, Vows to Continue

Black Lives Matter Birmingham announced their intent to continue protests on their Facebook page tonight , the next one to take place Friday, January 9, location to be posted later. 

"We are simply a group who wants equality for all the citizens of Birmingham and America regardless of race, religion, economics, or any other category." 

This will be the third round of protests from BLMB, which to date have included die ins and roadside demonstrations at the Summit, The Galleria and Walmart on Lakeshore.

Each event has involved a diverse group of citizens and no violence from the demonstrators has been reported.   

Friday, January 2, 2015

#NewsBham - Mayor Declares Winfield Alabama "City Under God!"

According to a Marion County newspaper, The Journal Record, Winfield, Alabama's mayor, Randy Price and the Winfield City Council have declared their city to be a "City Under God."

In an opinion piece praising the Council's declaration, which appears to be penned by The Journal Record staff, Mayor Price is quoted as saying the state and nation is in "an awful condition" and that the nation needs to come back to God, that God is the owner of the city and that the city acknowledges him.

"Some were fearful that outsiders will raise a fuss; we haven't heard any. We think it is a nice gesture. True, some bad jokes may result. ("God called. He wants to give the title back.") But truthfully, we like the idea that God is acknowledged and that he is given glory.

"Mind you, some of the other religions- or no religions- might fuss, but if our coins can say "In God We Trust" we see no harm in acknowledging the Almighty at Christmas. We think that the whole fuss about cleaning God from the spector [sic] of public service has been much ado about nothing. 

"In the same vein, this resolution may not change the city, either, but it will not hurt And, if anyone in Marion County deserves our thanks, it is him, for all he has blessed us with.

"At least that's how we feel."

A local resident who has expressed outrage over the declaration is drafting a letter of response and is contacting The Freedom From Religion Foundation.   

-Resident of Winfield Response-

Mayor Randy Price,

This is in response to your declaration of "One City Under God". 

First, please understand that I am writing this anonymously, in order to protect my family's safety. Secondly, the only information I have is from the Journal Record over the past few weeks, which stated in part "Mayor Price successfully pushing the Winfield City Council to declare Winfield as a "City Under God" and that God is the owner of the city, that the city acknowledges him, and that you feel the state and nation is in "an awful condition" that the nation needs to come back to God."

I apologize if anything is misconstrued. 
I would like a response detailing exactly what your declaration entails if you don't mind. Thank you in advance. 

I find it admirable for individuals to have strong beliefs they stand firmly by. I fully respect every individuals right to worship and believe as they see fit. Many people look to religion and their God/s for happiness and comfort. As our local paper simply states: "What a novel idea". I am all for it, what a bore life would be without the different expressions of each other. However, the moment an individuals beliefs interfere with the rights of others, my support stops. I believe we can all agree with the premise that one should not tell another person what or how to believe. Part of the greatness this country was founded on was that I will not tell you what to believe just as you should not tell me what to believe. That freedom is one set in stone long ago through Separation of Church and State. The moment a government declares a specific religion for its people, by default, is the moment that the government acknowledges other religions are wrong, thus making those individuals following that religion second class citizens. By endorsing religion, you clearly send a message to non-believers that they are not welcome and are outsiders to the community. Even the local paper "Journal Record" states that those who might disagree are outsiders; December 31, 2014- Our Views: "Some were fearful that outsiders will raise a fuss..." 

We should welcome ALL beliefs. It is a diverse world Mr. Price. To declare and endorse only your specific religion is selfish and wrong to those of us who look to you for proper leadership and integrity.

Every citizen benefits from the separation of church and state, although many Christians misunderstand its meaning. Allow me to clarify; separation is not a matter of being careful not to offend those people without religion or people who follow a minority religion. Nor is it an anti-religious principle. "Secular" only means "not based on religion"- it does not mean "hostile to religion". The purpose of separation is to protect religious liberty. As government becomes involved in religion, interpretations of the true meaning of "God" and "faith" inevitably drift toward one narrowly defined denominational vision. Many Christian denominations, including Baptists and Catholics, have actively supported separation to prevent their own religious identities being pushed aside by a different concept of God.

The Southern Baptist conference understood the point so well that it included separation of church and state as one of its founding principles. The Southern Baptist adopted, in their "Baptist Faith and Message", these words: "The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work... The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion." Only by consistently denying agents of government the right to make decisions about religion is our religious liberty secure.

Allow me to quickly give a few basic ideas that form the underlining of separation of church and state:
-Not all U.S. citizens hold the same opinions on religion and on important matters related to religion (like whether there is a God and, if so, what God's nature is; or, how or when or whether to worship God; or what God says to us about how to live). Everyone thinks he or she is right when it comes to religion. But not all citizens have the same beliefs on important religious matters.

-Secondly, religious truth cannot be determined by votes or by force. In the United States, neither a majority of citizens nor the government acting on the majority's behalf can make religious decisions for individuals. Anyone who might disagree with this idea should consider this question: If a nationwide vote were taken this fall and 99 percent of U.S. voters disagreed with you on a religious matter, would that change your mind? If 99 percent of the citizens wanted this country to adopt Catholicism or Methodism or Islam or atheism as the right religious point of view, would you accept their decision? Would that convince you? And it's not just voting, it's the law itself, the power of government, in question here. Just consider the poor guy in Afghanistan who was almost convicted and put to death in 2006 for the crime of changing his religious beliefs. 

Freedom, especially religious liberty, is worth having and protecting Mayor Price.