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Alabama Church Honors Joey Kennedy With Incarnation Award for Stance Against Anti-Immigrant Law HB 56

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The Beloved Community Church in Avondale, Alabama has given Pulitzer Prize-winning Birmingham News columnist Joey Kennedy (who is often covered on this blog) its annual Incarnation Award, for his stance against Alabama’s anti-immigrant law HB 56.

As the church said in its statement announcing the award:

This year we are honoring Joey Kennedy with this award, for his tireless and fearless advocacy on behalf of the immigrant communities of our state, and against the immigration laws passed by the legislature that work as advertised – they bring great harm to the stranger and the ‘foreigner’ in our land — the ones our faith calls us to love as ourselves. Beyond that, Joey has brought attention to the damage these laws have wrought on all Alabamians, whether we know it or not.

Said Rev. Angela Wright, pastor of Beloved Community Church and another activist at the forefront of the anti-HB 56 fight, “He feels morally compelled to continue speaking out. He keeps pushing the conscience of decision makers.”

Kennedy took a hard stance against HB 56 early on, pointing out that it turned Good Samaritans into criminals, made the state unfriendly to visitors, and was sure to be overturned in court (as it mostly was).  As he wrote just after the bill was signed into law, “Alabama people love to brag about their family values.  This law is so anti-family, it punishes not only those who want to help people, but those who are trying to take care of their families.  Shame on us.”

Taking such a stance has earned Kennedy much blowback over the last year and a half, with Alabamians sometimes violently disagreeing with his columns.  “It has been a fairly high-profile public beating I’ve been taking on that issue,” Kennedy told al.com yesterday.

But, he says, “I’ve met some of the most amazing people writing about this issue, people who have been abused by this law.  We know what this was. It was a populist law to pander for votes.”

The Incarnation Award was started to recognize people who embody the values of justice and mercy in a broken world. At America’s Voice, we sure think Joey Kennedy does that.

So, Joey Kennedy, congrats on this well-deserved award.