BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama has been in the national spotlight on several occasions over issues like anti-abortion legislation, education, LGBTQ and civil rights.
CBS 42 spoke with residents concerning how they feel these topics reflect on Alabama’s reputation.
In May, Gov. Kay Ivey signed an aggressive anti-abortion law which made national headlines and caused Alabama to be the spectacle of late-night talk shows. Some Alabamians like Inshallah Cesar and UAB student Sadie Jones are against the legislation and feel it is bad for the state’s reputation.
“I believe everyone should be given the right to choose,” Cesar said. “This is America.”
“I think a lot of the reason people passed that law is because of religion. And I think generally church and state should be separate. I don’t think that’s good for our reputation,” said Jones.
Some residents feel Alabama has a negative reputation for the state’s education system. The state often ranks near the bottom overall compared to other states’ education programs. Jones and fellow UAB student Jason Torres feel there’s not enough funding.
“I think more funding would definitely help,” Jones said. “I can see that some places within Birmingham schools are really nice, you get into more low-income neighborhoods, it’s just a lot worse. It’s sad that they’re not funded the same way.”
“You can see the struggle between cities and their schools really show how bad it is,” Torres said.
Alabama has also made headlines over some state and local government leaders’ views on the LGBTQ community. In June, Carbon Hill Mayor Mark Chambers made national headlines after making statements about killing out gay and transgender people on social media. Birmingham resident Anna Hall said she does not agree with violence but feels it is a positive thing if Alabama has a reputation of being anti-LGBTQ.
“I don’t want to be part of the world where they think it’s okay to allow people to be expressing themselves as gay, lesbians whatever it is,” Hall said. “I don’t think it’s right. I’m a Christian so there are only two genders a male and a female, that’s how it all started. I think they’re doing it for attention, and I think they’re really sick mentally sick. I don’t agree with that.”
“I’ve read about a lot of laws in Alabama that definitely don’t support LGBTQ people at all. I don’t think Alabama is the best place for that community.”
Some residents believe Alabama will move in what they feel is the right direction.
“It just depends on who they vote in and how strong the people’s voices are towards change,” Cesar said. “I think it comes from the people and who they elect in, and if they’re being apart of this change collectively. If not, it could remain the same and everyone just goes on following the same protocol.”
“I think in Birmingham things have changed. I can’t speak for other parts of Alabama, but definitely, in Birmingham, I think it’s becoming a more diverse place and I think that’s for the best,” Jones said.