Saturday, July 9, 2011

'Bama girl

"I was born in Alabama, but I only lived there for a month before I'd done everything there was to do." — Paula Poundstone, American stand-up comedienne, author, actress, interviewer, and commentator.

WHO KNEW Paula Poundstone and I had anything in common? I was born in Mobile, Alabama at the Allen Memorial Home. I'm not sure how long I lived there since my childhood was — just how shall we describe it — rather Dickensian. Not long enough to pick up an accent or much Southern charm.

I've never returned except for about 15 minutes six or seven years ago when Paul took a small detour on our way to Florida, just far enough into the state so I could put my feet on Alabama soil. We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but there was a marble marker with Alabama on it. I yelled, "I'm back," but Alabama didn't have anything to say in reply.

I keep hoping at some point to reach a point where I can be proud of my state of birth, but not so far. Here's the latest in discouraging decisions emanating from there passed on from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

July 8, 2011
Dear Kelly,
Today we filed a lawsuit against Alabama's new, draconian anti-immigrant law. The New York Times calls it "the most extreme" in the nation. It makes Arizona's anti-immigrant legislation look like child's play.
The Alabama law makes it a crime for anyone—citizen and non-citizen alike—to drive someone who is undocumented to church or a hospital. It requires school children to report on the immigration status of their parents. It even prevents refugees who have been granted asylum in our country from going to a state university. And, without question, it will lead to massive racial profiling and discourage victims of crime from cooperating with the police.
At the press conference we held today, one of our clients—a minister—said that the law "violates core values of various faiths because it criminalizes acts of love and hospitality."
The law reminds me of the Jim Crow era. It will create an underclass of people who are denied equal protection under the law, just like the racist laws that stained Alabama and the Deep South for many decades.
Like the racists laws we've fought in the past, we cannot let this one stand.
Thank you for your support and dedication to justice. I'll keep you updated as this important legal battle progresses.

With my sincere thanks,

Morris Dees
Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center

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