Starting in 1988, the nonprofit Alabama Arise was formed under the united belief that low-income Alabamians deserved to be recognized by the state’s policy decisions. However, the organization’s success was far from guaranteed, with only a small coalition of churches and community groups willing to speak out against the state’s injustice. It wouldn’t be until 1991, after the group elected Kimble Forrister as its executive director, that the group began growing into the force for good it is today.
In the 25 years Kimble has been with Arise, the group has seen exponential growth, allowing it to develop itself into a respected voice in politics for low-income Alabamians. He was able to do this by spending his time and effort hosting Sunday School classes, workshops, committee meetings – anything necessary to help spread the word of its organization and its mission of helping Alabama.
Under Kimble’s leadership, Alabama Arise and its sister group Alabama Arise Citizens’ Policy Project (ACPP) have grown monumentally, from two staff members to 15, tripled the number of member groups, as well as adding nearly 1,000 more members.
Arise has also seen two major successes in the past two decades, both occurring in 2006. The first was when Alabama passed its landlord-tenant law, which guarantees renters’ rights. The second victory involved the state’s decision to increase its income tax threshold (determining at what point a household begins to owe tax) from a meager $4,600 to $12,600 for a family of four.
It is the organization’s mission to ensure that legislation is passed that allows low-income Alabamians to move up the economic ladder and better provide for their families. They also oppose legislation that’s bad for consumers. I encourage any person who believes that the rights of individuals are important and should be protected to support the work of Alabama Arise. To learn more about Alabama Arise and how to get involved, visit the organization’s website at www.alarise.org. For more information about ACPP, visit www.arisecitizens.org.