SOS Caravan calls for Federal and state action at Montgomery Federal Courthouse

Cars lined up for SOS Caravan to Federal Courthouse
SOS  Press Conference in front of Montgomery Federal

The Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy held a life-or-death federal caravan on Thursday, May 21, 2020, with dozens of cars from across the state circling the Montgomery Federal Courthouse seven times with leaders then stopping to hold a noon press conference outside the Federal Courthouse. Leaders called on federal and state officials to take action now to save lives in the coronavirus pandemic overwhelming Alabama and killing Blacks at least three times the rate of Whites.
This was the fifth action taken by SOS since April to highlight the need for Federal and state action to respond to the disproportionate impacts of the corona virus on Black and poor people in Alabama.
SOS is demanding that Gov. Kay Ivey and the Legislature expand Medicaid in response to the overwhelming need for healthcare revealed by the pandemic. SOS plans to return to the State Capitol this Thursday and deliver body-bags symbolic of the tragic impact of this coronavirus on the most vulnerable people in the state.
At the Federal Courthouse rally last Thursday, World Conference of Mayors Founder Johnny Ford said: “We are calling on President Trump and Governor Ivey to work with Alabama’s congressional delegation to find a way to expand health care coverage for the people of Alabama. The situation was dire before the coronavirus pandemic, but it is terrible now. We know that they can find a way with some strokes of the pen to provide lifesaving coverage and care for Alabamians. We don’t care what they call it. We don’t care who gets the credit. Just do it, and do it NOW!” emphasized the former Tuskegee mayor and Alabama state representative.
Montgomery Community Advocate Karen Jones said: “Montgomery is overwhelmed. Our hospitals had been having to share ventilators and then ran out of ICU beds yesterday. Our city is included on the White House list of ‘locations to watch” for large COVID-19 outbreaks. We are not just a location to watch; we are living it. The outbreak is here, and it is life and death. It is also taking out our Black brothers and sisters at three times the rate of our white brothers and sisters. Governor Ivey, we are glad you received successful treatment for your lung cancer, but we know every human being is precious. And every Alabamian deserves to have lifesaving treatment.”
Alabama NAACP Bernard Simelton of Madison County, AL said: “The federal government has put a lot of money into Alabama to help us be a world leader in space and defense and more. We need the President and Governor Ivey to work with our congressional delegation to provide health care for working Alabamians. The legislation pending in Congress that gives the fourteen states like Alabama, which have not expanded Medicaid, the first three years of funding fully provided by the federal government must become law as soon as possible.”
Civil Rights Advocate Faya Toure said: “Alabama workers ought not to be forced to choose between work and death – or even work and sickness. Alabamians must be able to work safely to provide for their families. It is truly a matter of life and death in Alabama workplaces – not only for the Alabamians who work there but also for the individuals who do business at those workplaces. We must have safe workplaces.”
Chair of the Greene County Health Systems John Zippert said: “We have reached a critical mass here in Alabama. Rural hospitals have been dying for years with way too many barely hanging on by life support. And this issue goes far beyond rural hospitals. It is a life-and-death matter for rural hospitals, but it is also a life-and-death matter for thousands of Alabamians all across Alabama. President Trump and Governor Ivey, work with Alabama’s congressional delegation to find a way to expand health care coverage for the people of Alabama and save hospitals.”
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “I continue to prevail upon the leaders of our nation and state not to forget the Alabamians in jails and prisons. Many of President Trump’s cohorts, including Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, have been getting out of federal prisons due to concerns of health and death risks in prison due to COVID-19. Manafort’s sentence is not up until 2024, but he has been put on house arrest, and Michael Cohen is being furloughed today – both because of COVID-19’s deadly concerns. Why should they get special treatment? Prisons and jails are some of the most deadly places during the coronavirus pandemic. In too many cases, nonviolent offenders face the death penalty from COVID-19 if left incarcerated. Others in our federal prison system – and state prisons and jails – deserve the same lifesaving treatment Manafort and Cohen are getting. No one should dispute that.”
Attorney and former Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders said: “I know from my 35 years in the Alabama State Senate, that both the federal government and the state government find a way to do that which they really want to do. This is a life-and-death matter, and if President Trump and Governor Ivey want to save lives, they can do it. We are here again today calling on them to do it and to do it immediately.”
During the SOS Federal Caravan at Montgomery’s Federal Courthouse, black and white balloons were again tied to cars in the caravan as the cars circled the Courthouse seven times in the Jericho Walls Spirit. At the noon press conference at the Federal Courthouse, the balloons were released in recognition of the lives lost and the lives in jeopardy in Alabama right now – and also with the recognition that Black lives are in much greater jeopardy than white lives.

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