The H.I.V.E.’s June meeting focused on human rights and featured two fabulous folks:
- Amanda Keller, Director of the Magic City Acceptance Center
- Anil Mujumdar, an attorney at Zarzaur Mujumdar & Debrosse. He is also a board member and former board president of the ACLU of Alabama and is the current board president of AIDS Alabama.
Amanda told us about the mission of MCAC which is to provide a safe, supportive and affirming space for LGBTQ (“Q” stands for queer) young adults and their allies ages 13 to 24. The center provides weekly social events, counseling and social services for young folks as well as a safe place to eat and relax. Amanda and her crew also provide training to various groups on acceptance and kindness.
MCAC is funded though Birmingham Aids Outreach. Amanda says they have recently expanded its programming to include children under the age of 13 and adults. The best way to support MCAC is though donations of snacks (teens eat A LOT). Individually packaged items such as chips, cookies, gummy snacks, fruit snacks, etc. and fridge packs of soda and bottled water are greatly appreciated. If you are interested in donating, please email us and we are happy to pick up your donations and deliver them to MCAC. MCAC also hosts events open to the public including BUNCO nights and an annual Pancake Dinner on Fat Tuesday.
Next, we heard from Anil Mujumdar. Anil chatted with us about a pizza delivery metaphor; looking at the people and places within your five mile radius. He talked about first graders at Booker T. Washington Elementary school (approximately 4 miles from Homewood on Center St) and whether they had the right to the same outcomes as children in Homewood or Vestavia or Hoover. He suggested that we should be asking ourselves the right questions, such as “Who is my neighbor?” and “Why did people not vote?” Was it because they were disenfranchised, couldn’t reach a polling place, couldn’t get an id to vote because the DMV near them was closed? To take a serious look at the segregation in our neighborhoods, our work place and our churches. To be emboldened to share our ideology with our neighbors. To connect to people in person and invite people to H.I.V.E. meetings or events. To not be complacent!
The meeting concluded with updates from several H.I.V.E. members about ongoing projects:
- Glory is working with Adult Services Coordinator Leslie West at the Homewood Public Library to form a library sponsored book club with H.I.V.E. input. Glory is looking for a few folks to meet with Leslie and help organize. Please email Glory if you are interested!
- Jeanne and Rhetta met with Homewood mayor Scott McBrayer about adding his name to the Compact of Mayors, an agreement on assessing and reducing our city’s carbon footprint. The Compact will be added to the Homewood City Council’s Special Issues Meeting on July 17, 2017. Please email Jeanne for more information.
- Betsy has been leading the effort to advocate for a pocket park in downtown Homewood at the spot of the jail when it is relocated. She’s working with a group to chat with Homewood council members in all wards and to hold a public forum at the Homewood Library on September 12, 2017. Please email Besty for more information.
- Kristin and Megan had meetings with Edgewood Elementary’s principal Dr. Kiser and the Safe and Healthy Homewood Coalition about implementing the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate campaign. We are hoping to pilot this anti-bullying anti-bias program at Edgewood Elementary next year.
We also challenged H.I.V.E. members to participate in phone banking on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 for Felicia Stewart, candidate for the Alabama House District 46. And to attend the Women in Politics luncheon on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 11:30 am-1:30 p.m. Please email us for more information.