Until that law is repealed, paragraphs of criticism will surely continue to flow — justifiably so. That the Alabama Legislature has plans to merely “tweak” the law during this session says a great deal about those in control of state government.
Recently, a four-part video series that contains haunting words and Hollywood star power joined the reams of newspaper editorials and magazine essays that assail the Beason-Hammon Act. We urge Alabamians to go online and watch them.
The videos are a project of the groups Define American, America’s Voice Education Fund, and the Center for American Progress, and are produced by Hollywood’s Chris Weitz. They are short (the longest is 2 minutes, 25 seconds) and easy to follow. They also are not for the faint of heart.
In the first video, “The Two Faces of Alabama,” a man uses vulgar language when the interviewer asks if he agrees with HB56. “Yes, I do,” the man says. “Get the (expletive deleted) up out of here.” He then tells a woman sitting with him at a table to “shut your face” when she tries to calm him down. “Don’t embarrass me,” she pleads.
In the second video, “What Alabama Knows About Civil Rights,” viewers see civil-rights images that include signs emblazoned with racial slurs.
Though together they’re less than 10 minutes in length, the videos are especially damning for the law and encouraging for Americans unfamiliar with our state. Interviews with a cast of open-minded Alabamians — teachers, farmers, mothers — show the caring and humane side of this state.
Too often, that part of Alabama’s story isn’t told globally when HB56 is discussed. Alabama loses each time that happens.
A reminder comes from the British news magazine The Economist, which last month chimed in with its coverage of the United States’ harshest immigration law. It wasn’t surprising that the writer recalled the arrest of Mercedes-Benz executive Detlev Hager, who only had his German ID with him when pulled over in Alabama last November.
“(Immigrants) may be there illegally, but undocumented immigrants are still people; a Human Rights Watch report tells of families fleeing in darkness, of crime victims too scared to go to the police, of workers being cheated out of wages. And then there are innocents like Mr. Hager, who was kept in custody until a colleague could produce his passport and driving license. Foreign companies have flocked to Alabama in recent years; they employ over 54,000 Alabamans. How many more will want to come if their employees risk being treated like Mr. Hager, or worse?”
In essays or videos available across the globe, the story is the same: HB56 is awful for Alabama. It must go.
On the web: http://isthisalabama.org