Here at GBM, 2011 was a year of the unexpected, both heartbreaking and inspiring.
On April 27, deadly tornadoes swept through Alabama, leaving wide swaths of the state devastated. The tornadoes didn’t respect the boundaries we often set between rich and poor, but recovery for people living in lower income areas has been slower than we hoped.
GBM received an outpouring of generous donations following the tornadoes, which enabled us to assist families directly and pass on resources to on-site relief organizations.
On June 9, devastation of another type hit the state when Gov. Robert Bentley signedthe most punitive, far-reaching and unjust immigration law in the nation. Although the law was not scheduled to take effect until September 1 and court rulings delayed implementation of some sections, the damage was immediate and far-reaching.
Over the course of the next few months, immigrants (many of whom are part of “mixed” families – documented as well as undocumented) left the state, and left employers without the skilled workers they needed. Because the law criminalizes assistance to undocumented immigrants, those who remain here have been fearful of asking for the help they need. Not one Hispanic family signed up for holiday assistance through GBM this year. Utility companies around the state began demanding citizenship papers as a condition of providing service. Hispanic students disappeared from Alabama schools, and those who remained faced bullying from other students who called them illegal and told them to “go back to Mexico”.
GBM has been at the forefront of the faithful opposition to Alabama’s new immigration law, and we will continue to work for repeal.
We’ve been busy this year – check out the highlights after the jump. We’re grateful for your interest and support in 2011, and we look forward to partnering with you in 2012!