Arise Citizens’ Policy Project (ACPP) is a statewide coalition of 150 congregations and community groups, as well as individuals, who share the vision of an Alabama where all residents have enough food, education, health care, and economic opportunity to live happy productive lives. Through ACPP and its sister organization, Alabama Arise, members join together to promote state policies that improve the lives of low-income Alabamians.
More Alabamians need to know about and support this non-profit organization. For nearly 30 years, Alabama Arise has promoted citizen advocacy on public policies affecting low-income Alabamians. Established in 1988 by 32 religious and community organizations which were concerned about high utility rates, Alabama Arise now boasts a membership of more than 150 such groups as well as hundreds of individual supporters.
Arise organizers travel all over the state, holding listening sessions to learn about circumstances that hold low-income people back and to explore how policy change can address these barriers to a better life. Members develop issue proposals over the summer, then meet in Montgomery each September for a full day of spirited discussion before voting to choose their legislative agenda for the coming year. Arise’s policy team gets busy developing educational materials to help lawmakers as well as the general public understand the issues and develop long-term solutions. Alabama Arise has a vision to make Alabama a place:
• where all people have resources and opportunities to reach their potential to live happy, productive lives, and each successive generation is ensured a secure and healthy future;
• where all government leaders are responsive, inclusive and justice-serving, and the people are engaged in the policy-making process;
• where all people live with concern for the common good and respect for the humanity of every person.
Throughout the legislative session, members receive email alerts and follow up with phone calls and emails to help move legislation along. This past February more than 160 advocates poured into the State House on Arise’s annual Legislative Day to propel interest in the judicial override bill, which eventually passed both houses and became the first bill signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey.
Over the years, Arise has had success in other areas such as welfare reform, public education, landlord/tenant rights, health care and tax reform. In 2015 it published the second edition of The Alabama Tax and Budget Handbook, a comprehensive but very readable explanation of Alabama’s state tax structure and budgeting process that is still available from the Arise office.
My good friend Kimble Forrister heads up Alabama Arise. He and his excellent staff do very good work. To learn more about Arise and how you can support their work through a tax-deductible donation, visit www.arisecitizens.org. You can learn more online at www.arisecitizens.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/alabama.arise or by phone 800-832-9060.
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