AISJ Newsletter & Updates

New Website, Policy Agenda, Programs, & Funding

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AISJ Launches New Website

2022 is in full swing and AISJ's year is off to a great start! For one, we have launched a new website that includes an overview of our work and efforts, including our organizational policy agenda, 2022 action agenda, and policy briefs. We hope the new site provides ease of use and allows readers greater insight into our work, strategic direction, campaigns, engagement opportunities, and other ways to stay plugged in, as we continue to elevate our efforts across the state.

For quick access, here are direct links:


Policy Briefs

Full Organizational Policy Agenda

Visit our Website
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LUSH Cosmetics continues to demonstrate its commitment to investing in people, communities, and the Earth in its continued support of AISJ. Past LUSH support enabled our organization to advance its voter engagement and environmental justice efforts in 2020 through voter registration drives, canvassing, and issue education.

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AISJ is proud to announce it has been awarded two $3,000 grants, for a total of $6,000, from Stacey Abrams founded organizations, the Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) and Fair Count, Inc., in support of our work to lead vaccine outreach, education and mobilization efforts across Alabama’s Black Belt. 

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The Black Girl Dream Fund of the Southern Black Girls and Women's Consortium, a joint venture anchored by four Black, female leaders with deep southern roots, awarded AISJ $58,750, which will be used to support Black girls in Title 1 schools through The Judge Tiffany B. McCord "Just Like You" Program

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Alabama Child Care Activist Lenice Emanuel Speaks Her Truth

by Mark Swartz, Early Learning Nation

This magazine uses the word crisis a lot. We’ve reported again and again that early childhood education in America is at a breaking point. Inadequate wages, deepening mental health trauma (for families, children and educators alike) and a welter of other obstacles stretch out ahead of us into a troubling future. It’s no wonder that a new generation of child care activists has decided that playing nice doesn’t work any more.

As executive director of the Alabama Institute for Social Justice (AISJ), Lenice Emanuel sees her job as “selling freedom.” She’s more than willing to use protest, confrontation and the tools of a community organizer in the fight for freedom and justice. “Nothing of importance was ever changed in this country without upsetting the status quo,” she says.

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Child Care and Preschool:

Cutting Costs for Working Families

by Sakinah Harrison, Ed.D.

Rhian Evans Allvin, the CEO of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), recently testified in Congress about the need to reduce child care and Pre-K costs for families. 

In March, 48 percent of American workers said that child care is the issue keeping them out of the workforce. According to another recent study, both men and women face a 7 percent wage penalty for taking time away from the workforce due to challenges with child care. And, childcare workers in 41 states do not earn a living wage – and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Despite more than 20 years of evidence and data attesting to the benefits of investing in high-quality early childhood education, our nation’s progress has been limited,” said Evans Allvin. “Quality early learning settings remain scarce and unaffordable. Parents pay more for child care than public in-state college tuition, yet still don’t have real choices.”

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TAMCC Leadership Meets with DHR

The Alabama Movement for Child Care (TAMCC) continues its effort to organize child care providers, workers, and parents to ensure a child care system that works for all. On September 13, 2021, TAMCC sent a letter to Commissioner Nancy T. Buckner outlining movement goals and concerns regarding the system of child care in Alabama. TAMCC received a response and met with DHR child care officials on October 26, 2021, to discuss issues and suggested solutions to reducing increased industry burdens, including during this lingering pandemic. A second letter was sent by TAMCC leaders on November 16, 2021 to emphasize the need for improved communications between DHR and providers, which has resulted in regular quarterly meetings with DHR officials and our TAMCC base.

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AISJ Participated in YWCA of Central Alabama's

YWe Talk: How to Apply a Social Justice Lens

Check out the video here, if you missed it!


Our Strategy Is UNITY:

AISJ & MGM Unite

AISJ continues its voter engagement efforts through its partnership with MGM Unite, which brings together various organizations across the state for voter registration drives and voter education. It also incorporates training sessions for 501(c)(3) organizations on how to engage voters as nonpartisan entities. Additional joint community-building partnership efforts have included events such as a water drive, Stop the Violence Walks, and voter engagement activities on the campus of Alabama State University.

This partnership began in 2018 with a voter registration strategy developed by Eddie Compton, a local Montgomery citizen and AISJ strategist and organizer. Eddie’s focus was to center bringing people and organizations together to build power in both local communities and across the state. Our efforts include rallying voters to the polls, with the goals of:

1. Unifying with others who share the same values

2. Healing racial divides

3. Promoting strength through diversity

4. Helping each other by being good Samaritans


During the month of April alone, we have engaged 769 voters, registered 63 new voters, updated seven registrations, and restored 13 voters. AISJ also helped to distribute 72 cases of donated water at voter engagement events, coordinated 77 volunteers, and held two nonprofit trainings that focused on voter education, registration, and restoration, as well as phone banking and canvassing.

Due to the historic and systematic suppression of Black votes over the generations, we need continued efforts to get every eligible Black person registered but also energized to vote. For years, the number of Black people who are registered to vote in Alabama has been dropping. In 2018, the number of registered Black voters was 67.4%, and in 2020 it had dropped to 60.6%. Between stringent voter ID rules, targeted disenfranchisement, and gerrymandering, we have to work within our communities to right these wrongs and make the Black vote work for us and our greater democracy.

As we prepare for the May 24 primary, we encourage everyone to reach out to 10 family members or friends to see if they’re registered to vote. If not, please contact us at, and we will connect them with one of our organizers to get them registered and ready to vote in upcoming elections. 

Also, please join AISJ organizer, Janice Carter, and AISJ volunteers, Annie Burnett and Troy State University student, Kandice Rudolph, for our upcoming Annual Juneteeth Voter Registration Drive, to be held on Saturday, June 18th, from 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM, as part of the 2022 Juneteenth Celebration, in the 200 block of Montgomery Street on Troy University’s Montgomery campus, hosted by the university’s Rosa Parks Museum. You’re invited to attend.

AISJ remains grateful to funders like SPLC. Their investments in our voter engagement strategy afford us the continued opportunity to increase registrations across the state, meaningfully collaborate with other organizations, and empower Alabama citizens to use their voice and power at the voting booths. Together, we can!


Service of Repentance for Racial Injustice


On Saturday, April 2, the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast and the Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation co-hosted a Service of Repentance for Racial Injustice at Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile. The Right Reverends Phoebe Roaf and James Russell Kendrick helped to lead the litany of repentance, to acknowledge the wrongs of ancestors and seek forgiveness to move forward with boldness and bravery.

Before the service, participants had the chance to engage with 18 justice advocacy groups to learn how they could shift from being concerned about major issues toward true action and resolution.

There has still never been a real discussion of slavery and its aftermath. This would force America to face the ugliness of its history that’s interwoven with its beauty. It would require the country to embrace a wholly different historical narrative, when powerful people don’t want to let go of the old narrative. And talking about it makes it real and harder to ignore. That lack of discussion continues to shackle our country.

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Slavery is America’s “original sin.” Meanwhile, a Service of Repentance such as this works to address that sin head-on in a community setting. Here, repentance is the act of recognizing that sin and responding with grief for that sin and a change of mind to go in a new direction. The diocese itself apologized for its grim past of supporting and justifying slavery in years past, sharing how it is working to be on the path toward righting historic wrongs.

The Alabama Institute for Social Justice has a special connection to the Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation. In 2019, AISJ executive director Lenice Emanuel met co-chairs Gary Moore and Joe McDaniels during a visit to St. Paul Episcopal Church in Daphne, where these two retired attorneys showed their deep dedication to dismantling racism. AISJ’s participation in the Service of Repentance continues that relationship and our mutual commitment to advance racial reconciliation and cultivate allies in racial justice work. We also recognize the historic work of the Black faith community in nurturing the Civil Rights Movement and our shared efforts to build an anti-racist world.

Service of Repentance Bulletin

Women's Foundation of Alabama Awards AISJ

Voices for Healthy Kids Grant

The Women's Foundation of Alabama (WFA) seeks to strengthen its relationship with AISJ by investing in our child care advocacy work, which is focused on ensuring a provider-led movement for equitable child care. As an initial investment, WFA has awarded AISJ a $25,000 grant, which will focus on engaging our base of providers for input on shaping children's health policy. Voices for Healthy Kids works around the country to improve and create equitable policies that will make the places kids live, learn and play healthier. AISJ has an established history in working with WFA's executive director, Melanie Bridgeforth, serving as part of the Alabama Child Care Campaign, which resulted in past policy wins, to include the 2019 Child Care Safety Act. Additionally, our shared history includes being part of the Alabama Equal Voice Network, a past Marguerite Casey Foundation initiative, where grassroots organizing trainings empowered hundreds across our state. We appreciate the support and confidence of WFA and look forward to collectively ensuring that the voices of those most impacted by child care are lifted, centered, and drives transformative change in Alabama's child care system.

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AISJ Congratulates Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson on Confirmation as First Black Woman to Sit on Supreme Court


The Alabama Institute for Social Justice congratulates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on her historic confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. As the first Black woman to be confirmed, she will bring a new voice and perspective to the court. Her presence will buttress the current administration’s goals of expanding both the personal and professional diversity of the nation’s courts.


Judge Jackson brings outstanding qualifications to the bench, including her years as a Supreme Court clerk, a public defender, and a federal appeals judge. Her experience as a federal public defender is especially important, as it has given her a unique outlook on how the criminal justice system operates and can be unfairly wielded against the poor and minorities.


She had also previously served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a bipartisan agency that seeks to promote transparency and proportionality in sentencing. Jackson helped to rewrite guidelines to reduce recommended penalties for drug-related offenses. This also speaks to her familiarity with the other side of the criminal justice system and how Black people are often targeted by that system with harsher penalties for nonviolent offenses.


Judge Jackson joins the ranks of Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas as the third Black Justice in the entire court’s history, and she will serve alongside three other female Justices on the Roberts Court. Her confirmation will help to round out the court and add a fresh viewpoint that has never before been represented.






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