Human rights review team to visit Alabama

Birmingham April 22nd

Department of State seeks public comment on U.S. compliance with Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Alabamians will play an important role in measuring how the United States is meeting its human rights obligations when a review team visits the state on April 22. The Birmingham event at Grace Episcopal Church, 5712 First Ave. N., is one of 11 such meetings being held across the country this spring. The public consultations are part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) conducted every four years to assess how effectively United Nations member countries are fulfilling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, and subsequent human rights treaties. This is the first UPR of the United States.

The review process involves a self-assessment by the national government being evaluated, as well as external reports by various United Nations bodies. In addition, the UPR Working Group considers reports from other stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and national human rights institutions. Sponsors of the Alabama visit include Greater Birmingham Ministries, Arise Citizens’ Policy Project, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund, and South Bay Communities Alliance, Inc., in cooperation with the US Human Rights Network. The “community conversation” will highlight grassroots perspectives on six human rights issues in Alabama: poverty and homelessness, Hurricane Katrina recovery, immigration, education, African American land loss, and the death penalty and criminal justice. The schedule includes time to discuss other human rights concerns participants may identify.

The sponsors encourage churches, advocacy organizations and interested individuals to participate in this unique public dialogue on human rights in Alabama. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., and the panel discussions, with speakers on each of the six issues, run from 9 to 4:30. To make a lunch reservation, contact Lauren Banks at (205) 326-6821 ext. 105 or


Download Sentenced to Stigma!

Download the new report, Sentenced to Stigma – Segregation of HIV-Positive Prisoners in Alabama and South Carolina, published by the ACLU Prison Project and Human Rights Watch concerning the segregation of HIV+ prisoners in Alabama.

In Alabama, people in the visiting room recognize the armband worn by John S. and ask him if he has HIV. In South Carolina, Ronald B. was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but because he is HIV-positive he went to the maximum security prison that houses death row prisoners. In Mississippi, guards tell prisoners in the segregated HIV unit to “get your sick asses out of the way” when they pass them in the hall. Many prisoners with HIV will spend more time in prison because they are not eligible for programs that promote early release. These are some of the harsh consequences of HIV policies in Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi, the only three states in the nation that have continued to segregate prisoners living with HIV. In March 2010, after reviewing the findings in this report, the Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections decided to terminate the segregation policy. The segregation and discrimination against HIV-positive prisoners continues to this day in Alabama and South Carolina, and constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of international law.

ALABAMA VOICES: Unfounded fears

Read the full article here.

Montgomery Advertiser

Olivia Turner, Executive Director, ACLU Alabama

April 14, 2010

Melissa’s children — and indeed many of her neighbors and friends — found out that she is living with HIV when she went to the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka.

Under the Alabama Department of Corrections’ mandatory policy of segregating prisoners with HIV, Melissa was sent to live in Tutwiler’s Dorm E, the “HIV/AIDS Unit” at the prison — a housing assignment that effectively broadcast her HIV status. As Melissa put it, “Once you’re in Dorm E, everybody knows you’ve got the virus.” She was devastated. Her children were devastated. Melissa’s son asked her if she were going to die.

Raise money for Fair Housing @ Applebees


Good Afternoon,
       The Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama is seeking your support in securing funds to foster our work in providing fair and equal housing opportunities for the citizens of our city and surrounding areas. We are asking that you, your family, co-workers and friends have lunch or dinner at Applebees in Five Points West on Monday, April 19th and/or Tuesday, April 20th. Ten percent (10%) of your ticket will be donated to the center.  
     Your support will be greatly appreciated. Please make copies of the attached flyer, distribute them for us and take the time to have a delicious meal at Applebees in Five Points West.  
Hope to see you there.
Lila Hackett
Executive Director
Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama
1728 3rd Avenue North 400C
Booker T. Washington Bldg.
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
320-0238 fax

Check out AWRN’s Facebook page!

Become a fan of AWRN on Facebook!

Birmingham Roundtable’s 1st Annual Community Reentry & Restoration Summit

Saturday, April 24, 2010
10:00am – 4:00pm
Boutwell Auditorium
1930 8th Avenue North
Birmingham, AL

Contact:  Eddie Koen Direct: (256) 508-1480

Email address: Fax: (256) 830-8129

The Birmingham Roundtable Hosts the First Annual Community Reentry and Restoration Summit

The Birmingham Roundtable is hosting its First Annual Community Reentry and Restoration Summit on Saturday, April 24, 2010 at the Boutwell Auditorium, 1930 8th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203-2204 from 10 am to 4 pm. The Summit will assist adults with juvenile criminal records with reentry support services relating to their employment, housing, and education. The Birmingham Roundtable, supervised law clerks, and legal volunteers will be available on site to advise people about their eligibility to seal their juvenile criminal records. Our goal is to provide Birmingham residents with full community reentry.

Community Reentry and Restoration Summit 2010 serves as a significant opportunity to “sound the alarm” regarding the needs of many people who have lived productive and crime-free lives since adulthood and are in need of full restoration of citizenship without the stigma of a criminal history. We are partnering with the City of Birmingham Division of Youth Services, The Ministerial Brotherhood Ministries, Lawson State Community College, The Dannon Project and Jefferson County Family Court who will provide information, and some will offer private consultations with participants and their family members. Importantly, all services available at the Summit will be provided FREE of charge.

Participants will also be able to receive free instruction on sealing juvenile records, job placement and other pertinent services.


For additional information on the Birmingham Roundtable’s First Annual Community Reentry and Restoration Summit, please contact Mr. Eddie Koen 256.508.1480 or Ms. Kira Fonteneau at

HB 519 on its way to Governor Riley

HB 519, the bill to make the Commission on Girls and Women in the Criminal Justice System a permanent commission, has passed both houses of the AL Legislature and is on its way to Governor Riley.  Governor Riley must give final approval of the bill.  Encourage the Governor’s support of the bill by signing the online petition or contacting the Governor’s Office directly.