Special to the Democrat By: John Zippert,
On Friday, May 4, 2017, The Ordinary Peoples Society (TOPS) of Dothan, Alabama held its 17th Annual Founders and Unity Day. The dinner was attended by 200 people who were honoring Rev. Kenneth Glasgow on his 53rd birthday, the TOPS organization for its work with the community and incarcerated people around the country and ‘Moma Tina’, Glasgow’s mother, for her work in sustaining the organization and helping to feed hungry and homeless people in the area.
The dinner came in the shadows of Rev. Glasgow recent arrest and suspicious charge of ‘capital murder’ in the March 26th death of Breunia Jennings. Rev. Glasgow was asked by Jamie Townes, a friend to help him find his car that was taken. Glasgow, Townes and two others went to search for the car. They spotted the car and then the car rammed into them.
Townes jumped out of Glasgow’s car, drew a gun and shot Jennings. When the police came they arrested Townes and Glasgow and released the other two persons. Glasgow, a nationally recognized activitist on prisoner issues was charged with ‘capital murder’ under an Alabama statute which says unless you actively try to prevent a crime you are an accessory and implicit in it.
National and state organizations like the NAACP, Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy, ANSC, ADC and others challenged the suspicious nature of Kenneth Glasgow’s arrest and are working to have the charges dismissed. These groups and others packed the Dothan Courthouse for Glasgow’s preliminary hearing on April 6, 2018.
Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis sent Glasgow’s case to the Houston County (AL) Grand Jury but also made the unusual decision in a capital case to grant a bail request of $75,000. Glasgow has been out of jail on bail since April 9, 2018.
Friday’s dinner was one of his first opportunities to make a public statement to supporters about his case. “ We expected this kind of attack because of the work we have done on prisoners rights, our fights against police brutality and mass incarceration of Black young people. We have been preparing for this. God has been preparing us for this kind of attack.
“We were ready for this. We were prepared. When we got to jail, we started organizing and had a prayer circle for the DA, the Police Chief and others. WE must get beyond this to fight the real issues.”
There were other speakers at the dinner that supported Glasgow and TOPS including Dorsey Nunn of ‘All Of Us or None, a California group that initiated the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign; Asha Bandele, with a New York City prisoners campaign, State Senator Hank Sanders of Selma, former Mayor Johnny Ford of Tuskegee and others.
Rev. Glasgow said that he needs people to continue to help support the work of TOPS (The Ordinary People’s Society, 403 West Powell Street, Dothan, Alabama 36303; phone 334-671-2882 office and 334-791-2433 cell; West Powell Street. Dothan, AL 36303) and support his Legal Defense Committee by going to this website: www.glasgowdefensecommittee.org.
Pictured : Mrs. Katie Jones Powell, retired Sumter County Schools Superintendent, was keynote speaker at the Educational Seminar focused on Greene County High School juniors and seniors, sponsored by the Alabama Civil Rights Freedom Museum and held at New Peace Baptist Church on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. This event was part of the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration. Rev. Joe N. Webb was keynote speaker at the Unity Breakfast held at the Eutaw Activity Center on Jan. 15, 2018, honoring Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.’s birthday. Dr. Cynthia Warrick, President of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa brought the message at the Godly Women of West Alabama Religious Freedom Rally Celebration, held Jan. 15, 2018 at the William M. Branch Courthouse. The event recognized many women who have contributed to building a just and free society. Men and Women in the West Alabama Region were honored for their roles in building community and participating in the struggles for justice, equity and freedom. The awards were presented by Mr. Spiver Gordon and the Alabama Civil Rights Freedom Museum at the Martin L. King, Jr. Program held at the William M. Branch Courthouse in Eutaw, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018
The Alabama Civil Rights Museum, ANSC and other groups sponsored the annual Greene County weekend celebration of Martin Luther King’s Birthday. Spiver Gordon, President of the Museum presided at the programs.
On Monday the annual birthday breakfast was held at the Eutaw Activity Center, followed by a march and caravan to the William M. Branch Courthouse in Eutaw.
Rev. Joe Webb, Pastor of New Generation Church, was the guest speaker at the breakfast and challenged the audience to get involved in helping each other and the community instead of sitting on the sidelines complaining, back-biting and finding excuses for inaction.
At the Courthouse, Dr. Cynthia Warrick, President of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, gave the keynote address in a program honoring the role of “godly women in the struggle for human rights”.
A group of men from Greene and surrounding counties were honored at the breakfast and a group of women at the Courthouse.
ANSC and SOS plan a trip to Washington, D. C. from June 24 –27 to rally for and support the ‘Voting Rights Restoration Act’ to be submitted by Congresswoman Terri Sewell. We will be driving to D. C. by van and spending two days on
Capitol Hill supporting voting rights. It will cost $100 for the trip plus money for food. We know everyone will not have the funds to go, so we
are also seeking funds, to support scholarships, especially for young
people. Anyone wishing to go or donate to support the trip may contact
Greene Co. ANSC at 205/372-3373 or 205/657-0273.
A group of thirty representatives of the Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) and the Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy (SOS) Direct Action Committee protested the nomination, by President-elect Trump, of Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to become U. S. Attorney General. The protest was held for the past two Tuesdays, in front of the Federal Courthouse Building in Montgomery, where Sessions has his Alabama office.
The ANSC and SOS have issued a detailed statement opposing Session’s nomination. The statement says:
“We are compelled to issue this statement, because as citizens and residents of Alabama, we are intimately knowlegable and keenly aware of the harm that Senator Sessions has brought to our people and our state. We are issuing this statement as a warning to people in other states of the United States that Jeff Sessions is singularly unfit, manifestly unqualified and totally insensitive to serve as the chief law enforcement agent for our great nation.
“We are especially concerned that as Attorney General, he will be charged with enforcing civil rights, voting rights, and human rights laws, as well as being the primary caretaker of our criminal justice system. A criminal justice system and the policing mechanisms that support it are in urgent need of reform. By education, temperament and actions over the past 40 years, Jeff Sessions has shown himself to be unfit, unqualified and insensitive to serve in this critical position.”
The ANSC, SOS and other groups will continue to protest Session’s nomination. On Friday, December 16, 2016, at 11:00 AM the NAACP, the Alabama Moral Movement, ANSC, SOS and other organizations will protest at the Vance Federal Office Building in Birmingham, where Sessions has another of his state offices