As health care reform moved to the forefront of national policy priorities, ACPP kicked off a new initiative to examine the special health care challenges and opportunities facing a high-poverty state like Alabama. Our Health Care Access Conference on Feb. 10, 2009, co-sponsored by Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice and supported by a grant from the Public Welfare Foundation, drew more than 300 health care consumers and providers, policymakers, faith leaders, educators and others to Birmingham-Southern College.
It’s an image that’s central to America’s idea of itself: A group of ordinary people getting together to voice their concerns about public policy and their vision of the common good. It’s a treasured asset in our national memory, like barn-raisings and village greens, and yet − outside the carefully staged “town halls” during election season − real-life examples can be hard to come by. ACPP is out to change that. In community listening sessions and issue workshops across the state, our members are taking seriously the promise preserved in the word democracy − “people power.”
"Good government -- it's on us!" The ability, and the responsibility, of ordinary individuals to influence public policy has always been an underlying principle of ACPP's work. This year, our community organizers and policy snalysts began lifting this theme more prominently in their workshops and written materials. Through our second Poverty & Policy Conference, The Alabama Tenants' Handbook and other efforts, we built on our belief that the democratic process begins with an informed, engaged public.