Best City in Alabama, huh?

Maybe if you’re white and support police brutality.

But not if you’re a BIPOC or an ally. But if you support the murderer of EJ Bradford Jr. still working on the same police force then yeah, I suppose Hoover, Alabama is the best place to live in Alabama.

This just makes me want to vomit. I hate going to Hoover in the first place but when I have to, now I get to see these banners everywhere.

I guess it could be a great place to live if you support the police department rescinding the settlement offer made to dozens of protesters, after over A YEAR of back-and-forth in the courts waiting, and we still have no idea why they choose THOSE particular people (of which I am one). I haven’t spoken publicly about this until now but I am disgusted beyond belief and can’t stay quiet any longer. (I was loud about it back in 2020 and perhaps that’s why I’ve been targeted?) *note: link opens to a Medium piece that may be behind a paywall.
We, the protesters from the summer of 2020 have been waiting for over a year to get Hoover to present either evidence, or a case or … something. I’m not a lawyer and our lawyers have done incredible work on our behalf. We stood united as a group, all 75 of us that were arrested last year over multiple events, hoping to make Hoover see that they trampled not just on our bodies, but on our Constitutional rights. Our lawyers finally reached a settlement that was….meh, it was OK. Agreeable to most of us. It wouldn’t help everyone, not those charged with felonies but those with one or two misdemeanors, it meant we could finally get on with our lives.
And then, out of the blue, the PD (not the prosecutor) rescinded the offer to SOME of the protesters with no reasons as to why. Some people had the same charges as those that were excluded and are able to move forward, but others are stuck waiting until next year to find out what’s next.

I’m one of those protesters. I was arrested once, on one day, and charged with two misdemeanors. This was my first arrest ever, EVER, in my life. (We won’t count the one when I was 16 for another protest, since I was released on my own recognizance and no charges were pressed.) I’ve never done anything ever in my life, I don’t even have outstanding parking tickets. I can’t help but wonder why I’m one of those being targeted to exclude, and if it’s because I wrote that Medium piece or if it’s because I’ve been involved in the political circus happening in my city of Tarrant, AL, and also wrote a piece about some of that on Medium as well. It’s gotten even more ridiculous here, and I don’t need to write about it. Do a Google search on the name Tommy Bryant (council man) or Wayman Newton (the mayor) and you’ll find out all you need to know.

And now Hoover is the “Best Place to Live in Alabama”. Well, I’ve lived in Hoover. When we first moved to Alabama in 2009, my ex and I were transferred from Austin and had to find a place to live, sight unseen. We moved to a condo complex in Hoover, near the border of Vestavia Hills, another white flight city. We chose it based on the school system for my daughter who was going into high school and wasn’t the greatest of students so I wanted to give her a decent chance of making it and not slipping through the cracks of a large, low-rated school system. I knew nothing of Birmingham except what I’d learned in school of the civil rights issues from the ’60s, and was expecting to land in a place of racism and backwards thinking. I even shaved my black and purple mohawk in anticipation of not being accepted as I was – a native New Yorker, pagan, LGBTQ+ and just plain weird. By the time we got here, my hair was just short and it’s normal red color and we all tried our best to blend in.

My home became the refuge for my daughter’s friends, a variety of misfits themselves that weren’t able to express themselves in their own homes. Mostly LGBTQ+, they felt at ease in my home because I allowed them to be who they were: trans, bi, gay, whatever. Want to kiss your girlfriend openly? Go ahead. Want to be the transman you may be? Go ahead. Some of them would come over even when she wasn’t home because they felt comfortable enough with me, and not at their own homes, to just hang out and keep me company as I did whatever I was doing. They came to escape the bullying from school and home, and the stories I heard would tear your heart out. There’s a reason I’m a “Mama Lion” when it comes to all kids and young adults when they’re in danger – it’s because of my daughter’s friends from this time. Lionesses take care of all cubs in the pride. All of my daughter’s friends became my cubs; and that now extended to the “kids” at the protests. They all reminded me of my daughter’s friends – mostly LGBTQ+, many of these protesters likely would have been hanging out in my home, the Island of Misfit Toys – a haven for those not of the norm in Hoover.

Hoover is only a great place to live if you’re white, love the police, love football, are of a certain financial bracket and toe the line. Sure, it’s got a lot of great amenities, but if you’re BIPOC, LGBTQ+, lower income, or not “of a certain type”, stay away. And always remember, Hoover killed EJ Bradford and has yet to even admit to it. Remember that. Remember us. Remember that the Hoover PD brutalized a group of young (mostly) women for exercising their First Amendment rights. And they also brutalized a middle-aged disabled woman (me) for daring to try and protect those women by refusing to step off a curb.

Aug 3, 2020: Cell A65 Organizer Satura Dudley stands atop the Hoover City sign.
We were all arrested for doing what pro-Trump protesters were doing just moments before – people the HPD protected.

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