It’s been six months since Alabama began implementing its worst-in-the-nation anti-immigrant law HB 56. The Alabama state legislature has been in session since mid-February—and will only remain in session until mid-May—yet no legislative action has been taken to repeal the law.
Today, a faith coalition called Faith Leaders for a Welcoming Alabama are taking matters into their own hands, and releasing a “hard-hitting,” “first of its kind” ad highlighting how HB 56 has negatively impacted churches, farms, schools, children, and families. The idea is to get regular Alabamian citizens–and their legislators–to sit up and pay attention to the damage HB 56 has caused. The ad premieres tonight and will run for two weeks.
“We believe in reaching out, and ministering in our communnity,” the ad intones as it transitions between crop fields, churches, and school halls. “Yet under Alabama’s immigration law, we can be prosecuted for following God’s call to be Good Samaritans. Farmers’ crops are rotting in the fields because there aren’t enough workers for the harvest. Teachers are forced to act like immigration agents instead of educators. The new law hurts children and families, and doesn’t reflect the values of our faith. Call your legislators today. You can make a difference.”
Watch it here:
“This ad campaign will send our elected officials a clear signal that the faith community won’t sit by while HB 56 harms our families, congregations, communities, and state,” Rev. Angie Wright of Birmingham, Alabama’s Beloved Community Church said in a press statement. “We’re speaking out in a loud and unified voice to tell our legislators to change course on immigration.”
Rev. Steve Jones, pastor of Birmingham’s Southside Baptist Church and the narrator of the ad, agreed. “We pray together for all God’s children here in Alabama and we urge our legislators to honor the Christian commitment to family, community, and dignity by changing course on immigration. HB 56 violates our most basic values, separating parents from children, criminalizing our ministries to those in need, and opening the door to discriminatory profiling of our fellow Alabamians.”
Faith leaders have ardently opposed HB 56 since its inception, with clergy speaking at rallies and vigils. meeting with legislators, and filing legal challenges to the law. This new ad, their latest project, is supported by more than twenty faith coalition partners representing churches of various denominations located all across Alabama.
Learn more about the project, and the Faith Leaders for a Welcoming Alabama, here.