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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Alabama groups launch training to increase community advocacy

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024   

Alabama groups are empowering residents to influence community policies with a new training program.

Alabama Arise and Alabama Values are launching "Think Big Alabama" to equip people with tools to foster change in their communities.

Anneshia Hardy, executive director of Alabama Values, a nonprofit focused on messaging and increasing community engagement, highlighted the four-part program as a way to break down information barriers in the legislative process and amplify underrepresented voices.

"This is about training folks or giving folks tools to use that operate at the intersection of messaging and narrative, taking back control of their narrative," Hardy outlined. "Also advocating and organizing in communities and using the systems that we have in place during the legislative process to be a part of the change that they want to see."

She emphasized the key skills to be taught during the training include advocating through media, policy, grassroots organizing and community engagement. She strongly believes by focusing on the core areas, people in underserved areas often impacted by poor policies will be able to tackle the issues that matter most to them.

Presdelane Harris, organizing director of Alabama Arise, said "Think Big Alabama" is all about creating more access to democracy. She explained the program goes beyond teaching people how to organize and actively encourages them to take action on critical state and local issues. One part of the program will cover how to make plans to move the needle on important policies.

"If we're going to have a strong democracy, we need more people engaged and more voices a part of the process, not fewer voices," Harris contended.

Harris added the program is open to anyone who wants to learn more about policy advocacy or be a change maker in their community. The program is currently accepting 20 people for the training, which will consist of a combination of in-person and virtual sessions. The application is open until June 28.

Disclosure: Alabama Arise and Alabama Values contribute to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Civic Engagement, Health Issues, LGBTQIA+ Issues, Poverty Issues, Reproductive Health, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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