SOS attempts citizens arrest of Gov. Ivey for failure to expand Medicaid; visits Montgomery schools named for Confederate officials to advocate end of symbols of white supremacy

SOS leaders stand at Pedestal for statue in front of Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery. The statue was toppled last week during protest. SOS is uring the School Board to change the name of the school.

Montgomery, AL – The Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy held an Alabama State Capitol press conference, at noon on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, to conduct a symbolic citizens’ arrest of Gov. Kay Ivey for her continual refusal to expand Medicaid, which has caused the needless deaths of thousands of Alabamians as a direct result of her refusing to take action, which she can do with the stroke of a pen, to expand Medicaid.
The press conference was followed by a Caravan for Life to Montgomery’s Robert E. Lee High School and Jefferson Davis High School to draw attention to the murder of Blacks due to White supremacy and policy brutality and to focus attention on the ongoing need to remove Confederate monuments from public property. SOS said its activities are also in support of the memory of George Floyd and the need for immediate reforms in criminal justice reform throughout the State of Alabama, to prevent police brutality and murder of unarmed Black people. SOS leaders who spoke on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol building brought with them a warrant, handcuffs and a ball and chain to effectuate the arrest of the Governor. The State Capitol was locked and an extra barricade had been installed at the top of the steps to prevent the SOS leaders from presenting their warrant.
Community Advocate Karen Jones said: “We are thankful that Gov. Ivey has health insurance provided by the State of Alabama that helped ensure her recovery from lung cancer. We ask that the Governor afford the citizens of Alabama the same right to life she clings to so strongly. “Actions speak louder than words, Governor, and your continued actions and inactions during your time as Governor have led to the needless murders of thousands of Alabamians by your refusal to expand Medicaid and save lives. Which is it, Gov. Ivey? Are you pro-life or just pro-your-life? Expand Medicaid NOW, and save Alabama lives!”Chair of the Greene County Health Systems John Zippert said: “Rural hospitals save lives. They do everything they possibly can to save every possible life. Yet they have been dying at unconscionable rates due to Gov. Ivey’s failure to expand Medicaid. We are asking Gov. Ivey to do everything she can to help rural and other hospitals in Alabama survive by expanding Medicaid. That is why we are here today to again issue a symbolic citizens’ arrest warrant on Governor Ivey, which we also did on May 21, 2019 – more than a year ago – for her violation of 13A-5-40(10), Code of Alabama 1975.”
SOS Direct Action Committee Chair Faya Rose Toure said: “We, as citizens of Alabama, charge Governor Ivey with the intentional refusal to expand Medicaid and conspiracy with others to block Medicaid expansion, knowingly leading to the murder of thousands of Alabamians and the destruction of Alabama’s rural health care system. Too many Black Alabamians are being killed because the Governor has continually refused to expand Medicaid, which she can do with a stroke of her pen today.”
World Conference of Mayors Founder Johnny Ford said: “The Governor’s criminal failure to expand Medicaid is just one of many egregious actions taking place in Alabama that are leading to the senseless murder of Black human beings in our state. What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is not unique to Minnesota. Black people all over this country have been wrongfully murdered by police – both men and women – due to the systemic racism in the justice system and centuries of White supremacy in Alabama and America. This must end now. No more Blacks should die due to government actions that include failure to expand Medicaid and murder by police brutality.”
Youth Advocate Alecha Irby said: “The world watched in horror as the life drained out of George Floyd over eight minutes and 46 seconds. Tragically, all Black people including young Black people know we are at great risk of being murdered or enduring physical harm at the hands of the police. We have grown up surrounded by treasonous Confederate monuments that perpetuate and push and deadly culture of White supremacy all over this state and nation. It is long overdue for the monuments of treason to come down. They don’t belong on public property.”
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “Being an attorney and an educator, I have seen the deadly and dangerous effects of White supremacy on our justice system, our educational systems, and our state and national culture. Monuments and other glorifications of treasonous confederate action in this nation should not be standing today on public ground. If they are truly to become part of our history, we must put them in places of history rather on public property or in honor of their actions in secession from and declaration of war upon the United States of America.”
Attorney and former State Senator Hank Sanders said: “The loss of Black lives has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, where Blacks are dying at a rate of three times that of Whites in Alabama and the U.S. We are having to fight for our lives on the lack of health care front, on the pandemic front, on the police brutality front, and on the White supremacy front. Death is coming at us from so many different directions. Change must happen now.”
SOS went by Caravan to the two high schools named for Confederate officials. At Robert E. Lee High School, SOS leaders stood for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in front of the empty pedestal where Lee’s statue had been toppled last week by youth leaders. At Jefferson Davis High School school security prevented the group from demonstrating on school grounds. A short ceremony was held on the sidewalk to urge the Montgomery School Board to change the names of the schools named for Confederates who fought against the United States.

SOS National Day of Prayer Caravan holds prayer at Governor’s Mansion

Prayers of protest leaders to Expand Medicaid, Increase Testing and Save Lives
Montgomery, AL – The Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy held a caravan on May 7, 2020 with numerous cars circling the Alabama Governor’s Mansion downtown to urge Governor Ivey and others to expand Medicaid, save rural hospitals and focus COVID-19 resources to those most in need. After circling the Governor’s Mansion in downtown Montgomery, instead of the usual press conference, leaders held a prayer conference. Leaders were asked to take one minute or less to address their issues in uplifted prayer.
Attorney Hank Sanders said: “I pray that God will open the minds and hearts of Governor Ivey and other Alabama leaders so that they will immediately implement the expansion of Medicaid and will focus the pandemic resources to those most in need. I pray that God will strengthen the hand of the Governor so with a stroke of the pen she will expand Medicaid. I pray that those who are protesting to open up Alabama economically will also pray that the Governor will open Medicaid expansion in our state.”
World Conference of Mayors Founder Johnny Ford said: “I pray that our national leaders will do whatever it takes to limit the deaths and number of people who are getting the coronavirus. I pray that they will open back up the window for Medicaid coverage so people who now qualify can become covered.”
Civil Rights Advocate Attorney Faya Toure said: “I pray that people whose workplaces are too dangerous will not be forced to work and they will be able to get unemployment benefits if they choose not to work as a result of unsafe work environments. They should not have to choose between work with the possibility of death and survival – both physically and economically.”
Chair of the Greene County Health System, John Zippert, said: “I prevail upon state leaders to save rural hospitals, not only during this pandemic but also from now on. Rural hospitals must be strengthened economically, staff wise and in every way so they can keep serving the people of rural Alabama and other areas.”
Community Advocate Karen Jones said: “I pray the state will truly embrace testing and tracing, so that everyone who wants to get tested can do so without cost and so that people will know when they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive. I pray this because for Alabama to safely open, we must have available testing and tracing for all.
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “I prevail upon the leaders of Alabama not to forget those in jails and prisons. I ask that their hearts will be touched in a way that they will let those who are not dangerous to the public out of prisons and jails and those who are in jails but have not been convicted out while they are pending trial. I ask that prison and jail sentences will not be death sentences because of COVID-19 as both prisons and jails have become hotspots for the virus. I urge our leaders act to save lives.”
During the SOS National Day of Prayer Caravan and Prayer Conference at the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery, black and white balloons were again tied to the cars in the caravan and released at the end of the prayer conference in recognition of the lives lost and the lives in jeopardy in Alabama right now.
For more information, contact the SOS Movement for Justice and Democracy website and Facebook page.

SOS holds ‘Jericho Walls – Caravan for Alabama Lives’ in Montgomery, pushes for Medicaid expansion, safe workplaces and saving Alabama lives

By John Zippert,
Greene County Democrat

Cars lining up to participate in the Caravan for Alabama Lives in

The Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy held a Jericho Walls “Caravan for Alabama Lives” on April 28, 2020 in Montgomery. Alabama.
The Jericho Walls Caravan consisted of dozens of cars with black and white balloons that circled the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Montgomery seven times and then circled the Alabama State Capitol seven times. At the end of the caravan, SOS leaders held a press conference on the steps of the State Capitol and released the balloons as a tribute to those who have died in the coronavirus pandemic.
Attorney and former Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders said: “The seven times is biblically significant because when the Children of Israel marched around the Walls of the City of Jericho while shouting and blowing horns, the Walls fell down. We are taking action and hoping and praying that the walls that prevent the expansion of Medicaid will come tumbling down in Alabama. As the Governor moves to reopen Alabama, it is more critical than ever that Governor Ivey and the state she governs act to save Alabama lives.”
SOS said the purposes of the Caravan for Justice, are:
• To urge Gov. Ivey and the Legislative leadership to
Immediately expand Medicaid to serve 340,000 poor and working people with insurance coverage, in this time of the coronavirus pandemic;
• To highlight the grave disparity that Black, poor and working people are experiencing a dramatic disproportional share of the victims and deaths from coronavirus, and urge a focused response of testing, access, care and support for these traditionally underserved people and communities;
• To urge the release of all non-violent prisoners and people confined in jails, who cannot afford bail, on humanitarian grounds, due to the coronavirus.
Attorney and Civil Rights Advocate Faya Toure said: “The walls that keep employees working in unsafe places forcing them to walk off their jobs in order to protect themselves and their families must come down. As Alabama is moving to reopen, we are deadly concerned about safe working environments being provided for those who work in these businesses as well as those who do business there. Employees and nonemployees must be protected and guaranteed safe and sanitary workplaces.”
 Toure reported on employees at American Apparel in Selma, Alabama, who walked off the job en mass last week when they learned that other employees were confirmed infected with the coronavirus. The employees asked that the entire plant be deep cleaned and all employees be tested. The employer cleaned the administrative offices and asked that employees come back to work and threatened that employees were not eligible for unemployment.
Employee Janice Peterson, who participated in the caravan, with other plant workers but decided not to come out of her car, said: “I have been with American Apparel for 16 years. I have a child with bronchitis. I had to leave my job when I learned that people with coronavirus had been working in the plant for almost two weeks without our knowing it. I do not want to risk my life, and I certainly do not want to risk my child’s life. We should not have to choose between our work and our lives.”
Founder of the World Conference of Mayors and former Tuskegee Mayor and State Representative Johnny Ford said: “The walls that are disproportionately killing Black people and other minorities due to COVID-19 must come down. We need more testing, more data and more care in all of Alabama but especially in areas that are predominately Black and minority and have been drastically underserved for my entire life. Unfortunately, access in these areas has only gotten more limited over the last several years. That is shameful and unacceptable. There is zero excuse for this in the United States of America in the 21st Century.” 
 Chair of the Greene County Health System John Zippert said: “The walls that are causing rural hospitals to close must come down. We fight every day to stay open and provide Alabamians most in need with health care. Rural hospitals are essential to fighting COVID-19 in our state and to saving Alabama lives. We have been fighting year after year after year to survive, and many Alabama rural hospitals have lost that fight. Alabama has always needed to expand Medicaid, but now that we are living in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, Medicaid expansion is more life-and-death than ever. We cannot change the past, but as she moves to reopen Alabama, Governor Ivey can and must expand Medicaid NOW.” 
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “The walls that are keeping nonviolent Alabamians in prison and unnecessarily and excessively exposing them to the coronavirus must come down. The State of Alabama has a responsibility to those individuals in its custody. By knowingly exposing nonviolent offenders, some of whom have not been convicted at all, of the coronavirus Alabama is intentionally placing them at risk of death.”
 Community Advocate Karen Jones, who drove the lead vehicle in the Caravan, said: “The walls that prevent testing for the COVID-19 virus of those who are most in need must come down. This Jericho Walls ‘Caravan for Alabama Lives’ is in recognition and symbolism of the deadly reality facing Alabamians. We released the black and white balloons today at the press conference in recognition of the lives lost and the lives in jeopardy in Alabama right now. The risk remains and could grow the coming weeks, and we cannot wait any longer for the state to act. The lives and health of too many Alabamians have already been lost and even more are in danger.”