Archive | October, 2014

“Faithful Seven/State Capitol Seven found NOT GUILTY” From Alabama’s :S.O.S. – Save OurSelves Movement for Justice & Democracy’s Press Rlease

7 Oct

S.O.S. – Save OurSelves Movement for Justice & Democracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                       CONTACT:   John Zippert (205) 657-0273

Monday, October 6, 2014                            Hank Sanders (334) 782-1651

Faithful Seven/State Capitol Seven found NOT GUILTY: 

Trial held today at Montgomery County Courthouse – ALL SEVEN ACQUITTED

The seven Alabamians arrested for singing and praying in the State Capitol as an act of faith in support of health care and Medicaid expansion were found not guilty following their trial in Montgomery County District Court today.  The purpose of their moral stand remains to persuade Gov. Robert Bentley to extend Medicaid coverage and save the lives of Alabamians.

In his oral ruling from the bench, Judge W. Troy Massey said that this case follows in the long history and tradition of Americans risking jail to stand up for principles greater than themselves.  He cited Americans in 1773, who trespassed onto three ships and destroyed $1 million worth of tea (in 1773 dollars) by dumping it into the Boston Harbor.  Today we know that as the Boston Tea Party.  He cited Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus in 1955 in protest of segregation, which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and advances in desegregation of public transportation.  He cited protests in Selma in 1965, which led to the Voting Rights Act.  He cited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s lifetime of nonviolent protests and others.

The Judge also referenced how peaceful the crowd was in the courtroom throughout the hours of trial proceedings today.  Several Capitol Police Officers who were witnesses at trial also detailed how peaceful and prayerful the defendants’ demeanors were during their abbreviated prayer vigil at the State Capitol on August 28th.  Not only was no damage done to property;  no voices were even raised.

One assertion by the prosecution’s witnesses, which came out in court today and surprised the defense and others in the courtroom, was that state policy denies all Alabamians any right to peacefully protest, even silently, in the State Capitol at all times – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – not just after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.

The Alabama statute on trespass provides that if a person has an honest belief they have a right to be in place, such as the State Capitol, sometimes called “the People’s House”, that person cannot be convicted of criminal trespass.  Civil trespass is the recourse available under such circumstances.  The Judge cited the defense of honest belief to the trespass charges as “compelling.”  He also said the justification defense of necessity, which the defense raised, was “compelling.”  Evidence demonstrated that, on the average, three people die every two days in Alabama because of the failure to extend Medicaid.  The seven defendants were arrested while they were trying to save hundreds of lives each year in Alabama alone.

The seven citizens arrested on August 28, 2014, for peacefully protesting by attempting to hold 24-hour, non-violent vigil in the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery and who were found not guilty of the charges today in Montgomery County District Court include:

  •  John Zippert, Newspaper Publisher and member of the Greene County Hospital and Nursing Home Board
  •   Augustus (Gus) Townes, retired State Employee and Community Leader
  •   Faya Rose Toure’, Civil Rights Attorney and Activist
  •   Alecha Irby, College Student and Community Worker
  •   Reverend Fred Hammond, Tuscaloosa Pastor and Community Leader=
  •   Reverend Kenneth Glasgow, Dothan Pastor and Director of The Ordinary Peoples Society (TOPS)
  •   Annie Pearl Avery, Longtime Grassroots Warrior

Quotes from the individual defendants acquitted today:

Faya Rose Toure’:  “I am so proud that justice reigned this day.  Too often justice is not done in our courts, and it is great when justice prevails.  We will keep fighting to protect the lives and the health of Alabamians.”

Reverend Fred Hammond:  “This is a matter of life and death, and hope for life triumphed this day.”

John Zippert:  “We were just trying to do right, and the Judge recognized that.”

Reverend Kenneth Glasgow:  “This is the first time I’ve been arrested for doing right, and this is the first time I’ve been found innocent.  It’s good to do right.”

Annie Pearl Avery:  “When you stand up for right, right will prevail.  I was on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during Bloody Sunday in 1965, and I am still standing up for right today.”

Alecha Irby:  “I am proud that as a young person I stood up, and I am proud that justice was done.  More young people need to stand.”

Augustus “Gus” Townes:  “We stood up for justice, and the Judge did justice today.  We will continue standing up to save the lives of Alabamians.”

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“The trial of the seven Alabamians arrested for singing and praying in the State Capitol as an act of faith in support of health care and Medicaid expansion will take place this Monday, October 6, 2014.” Press Release by Saving OurSelves Movement for Justice & Democracy; For More Info Contact: AL State Sen Hank Sanders, Coop Developer John Zippert

5 Oct

 

‘State Capitol Seven’ at their release from the Montgomery County jail at midnight on Thursday. L to  R: Alecha Irby, John Zippert, Faya Rose Toure, Rev. Fred Hammond,  Annie Pearl Avery, Rev. Kenneth Glasgow and Gus Townes. ( “State Capitol Seven’ arrested for trespassing after demonstration to urge Governor to approve Medicaid expansion” by John Zippert: http://greenecountydemocrat.com/)

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[Cut & pasted below is: Press Release by S.O.S. – Save OurSelves Movement for Justice & Democracy; For More Info Contact: Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders, Coop Developer John Zippert]

S.O.S. – Save OurSelves Movement for Justice & Democracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: John Zippert (205) 657-0273

Friday, October 3, 2014 Hank Sanders (334) 782-1651

Trial of the Faithful Seven/State Capitol Seven –

MONDAY, October 6th at 8:00 a.m. at Montgomery County Courthouse

The trial of the seven Alabamians arrested for singing and praying in the State Capitol as an act of faith in support of health care and Medicaid expansion will take place this Monday, October 6, 2014. The trial is scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. in Courtroom 2C of the Montgomery County Courthouse at 101 South Lawrence Street.

The seven citizens arrested on August 28, 2014, for peacefully protesting by attempting to hold 24-hour, non-violent vigil in the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery include:

  • John Zippert, Newspaper Publisher and member of the Greene County Hospital and Nursing Home Board
  • Augustus (Gus) Townes, retired State Employee and Community Leader
  • Faya Rose Toure’, Civil Rights Attorney and Activist
  • Alecha Irby, College Student and Community Worker
  • Reverend Fred Hammond, Tuscaloosa Pastor and Community Leader
  • Reverend Kenneth Glasgow, Dothan Pastor and Director of The Ordinary Peoples Society (TOPS)
  • Annie Pearl Avery, Longtime Grassroots Warrior

The purpose of their moral stand is to persuade Gov. Robert Bentley to extend Medicaid coverage. The seven pled not guilty by written notice to the Montgomery District Court.

Rev. Fred Hammond said, “This is a moral issue of life and death. Medical studies show that up to 700 Alabamians will die each year because they lack this basic health coverage. The federal government funds 100 percent of this coverage for the first three years (2014 -2016), and from 2020 onward federal dollars will fund 90 percent of this lifesaving coverage. By rejecting the funding that a majority of states have accepted, the Governor will be sacrificing lives of people he was elected to serve.”

John Zippert added, “A disproportionate number of people will die in rural Alabama because of Gov. Bentley’s failure to extend Medicaid. His deadly decision places grave financial pressures on hospitals in the state, particularly smaller rural hospitals. Not expanding Medicaid is bad for Alabama hospitals and communities and is literally a matter of life and death for some Alabamians.”

Faya Rose Toure’ said, “On the average at least one person dies every day as a direct result of not expanding Medicaid. That is morally wrong and is unacceptable.”

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Show Solidarity for Seven Alabama Activists Who Go on Trial Monday Sept. 6 for Demanding Health Care for All!

3 Oct

If you can’t be there in person send a statement of support via “comment” section below and our cooperative will hand deliver it to the Faithful Seven before they go into court Monday. Also please circulate the cut and pasted flyer below:

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COME SUPPORT THE FAITHFUL SEVEN!!!

COME SUPPORT THE FAITHFUL SEVEN!!!

WHEN: Monday, October 6, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.

WHERE: Montgomery County Courthouse

101 South Lawrence Street, Courtroom 2C

Montgomery, Alabama 36104

WHAT: Trial of the Faithful Seven/State Capitol Seven

Fighting to Save Lives!!! Fighting for Justice!!!

WHO: The seven arrested for singing and praying in the Alabama State Capitol as an act of faith in support of health care and Medicaid expansion –

  • John Zippert, Newspaper Publisher and member of the Greene County Hospital and Nursing Home Board

  • Augustus (Gus) Townes, retired State Employee and Community Leader

  • Faya Rose Toure’, Civil Rights Attorney and Activist

  • Alecha Irby, College Student and Community Worker

  • Reverend Fred Hammond, Tuscaloosa Pastor and Community Leader

  • Reverend Kenneth Glasgow, Dothan Pastor and Director of The Ordinary Peoples Society (TOPS)

  • Annie Pearl Avery, Longtime Grassroots Warrior

WHY: THEY STOOD AND FOUGHT FOR US! NOW WE MUST STAND AND FIGHT WITH THEM! BE THERE MONDAY, OCTOBER 6th!!

COME SUPPORT THE FAITHFUL SEVEN!!!

Paid for by SOS, THE SAVE OURSELVES MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY

CONTACT: Shelley Fearson, 334-262-0932

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