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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Black voters in battleground states are a crucial voting bloc in 2024; Nikki Haley says she's voting for Trump in November; healthcare advocates suggest medical collaboration to treat fibroids; distinct vibes at IU Indianapolis pro-Palestinian protest.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

A focus on LGBTQ solidarity amid Alabama legislative challenges

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024   

In the face of anti-LGBTQ legislation and the tragic loss of a nonbinary teen in Oklahoma, an Alabama group is working to provide what it calls a space of hope and support.

Hometown Action hosts monthly virtual spaces as a platform for LGBTQ+ people to share their stories and build connections.

Justin Vest, executive director of the group, said the aim is to bring together people from rural parts of the state and help meet their needs through solidarity, mutual aid, advocacy, policy work or community projects.

"These community gatherings really are about creating that place of belonging, where folks can come together, we can share and process our rage, our grief," Vest outlined. "But most importantly, build that community, have that space of belonging, at a time when the world is trying really hard to say that we don't belong, as trans and queer folks."

Vest also emphasized the value of the Gender Justice Community Gatherings in providing education and creating a call to action.

Alabama is pushing forward with some controversial legislation, including House Bill 111, which proposes strict legal definitions for "man" and "woman" based on assigned sex at birth. Supporters of the bill claimed such restrictions are necessary for state laws.

The group is standing up against multiple bills it argued could threaten the safety or well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals. Vest noted they are collaborating with state partners and urging lawmakers to protect the rights of all citizens. Vest added immediate action may be critical but there is also a deeper commitment to people in often overlooked areas of the state.

"We also are very clear that if we're going to put a stop to these kinds of attacks, we have to build long-term power," Vest emphasized. "And in a state like Alabama, we have done that in the rural and small-town communities."

The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking four bills it deems as "anti-LGBTQ" making their way through the legislature. The next online gathering is scheduled for March 21 at 7 p.m. ET. Information is on the Hometown Action website.

Disclosure: The Hometown Organizing Project contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Climate Change/Air Quality, LGBTQIA Issues, and Rural/Farming Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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