Pictured : Chalk on monument and Jefferson Davis monument
Rev. Carolyn Foster, Alabama Coordinator of the Poor People Campaign, A National Call for Moral Revival announced that the State of Alabama dismissed charges against 17 activists on the eve of their trial for tampering with and defacing Confederate monuments in Montgomery Alabama. “We are elated at this great victory for protestors arrested in weeks 4 and 6 of our forty days of moral witness of the Poor People’s Campaign in June of this year,” said Foster. Eight protestors were arrested on June 4, 2018 for tampering with the statue of Jefferson Davis, in front of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. After the Poor People Campaign held a rally in support of Medicaid expansion on the steps of the State Capitol, the eight protestors threw a sheet over the statue to symbolize Davis’ connection to the Klu Klux Klan. The protestors then squeezed catsup on to the sheet and statue to symbolize the bloodshed caused by the Confederacy, white supremacy and continuing racism. Monday, June 4 was the first business day after Jefferson Davis’ birthday on June 3. The State of Alabama is the last remaining state that observes Davis’ birthday as a state holiday, so state offices were closed that day. Two weeks later on June 18, nine protestors were arrested for throwing colored chalk on the Confederate Memorial, also on the grounds of the State Capitol. The 17 protestors were part of over 3,000 people arrested nationwide for peaceful civil disobedience in connection with the Poor Peoples Campaign. The group was scheduled to go to trail on Monday. October 1, 2018 in Montgomery Circuit Court before the cases were abruptly dismissed by state prosecutors on Friday. The group was preparing a classic “free speech defense” of their actions before the dismissal of charges made it unnecessary. Rev. Foster concluded her press release by saying, :”We must continue to work for equity and justice. There are a number of ways to become actively involved and stand up against systemic racism, systemic poverty, militarism, ecological devastation and confront today’s distorted moral narrative. Somebody’s hurting our brothers and sisters and we won’t be silent anymore !” Contact the Alabama Poor People Campaign for more information.