Dauphin Island whole, Gay rights group launches ad campaign

Nov 10, 2014

An island in the Gulf of Mexico is once again whole nine years after it was sliced in two by Hurricane Katrina. And oddly, the BP oil spill is responsible for the change. Katrina swamped Alabama's narrow Dauphin Island in 2005, creating a pass that grew to about 1.5 miles wide. But that breach is once again a sandy beach that makes it possible to walk the entire, 17-mile length of the island. The change came about because of a $17 million project that was funded by BP to construct a long rock pile in the breach of the island. The goal of the rocks was to prevent oil from getting near the coast. But those rocks also acted like a net that caught sand and created new beach. A civil rights group is launching an advertising campaign aimed at softening religious opposition in the Deep South. Alabama Public Radio's Ryan Vasquez reports the effort hopes to help gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign is taking on the region's longstanding church-based opposition to homosexuality. The group is producing a series of television commercials, direct-mail messages and phone-bank operations. They're designed to promote equality and legal protections to LGBT people. The ads begin airing today in Mississippi, and similar spots could be used in Alabama and Arkansas. The Human Rights Campaign announced earlier this year they were committing eight and half million dollars to their Project One America in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. Commercials will feature people like Mary Jane Kennedy, who's led Bible studies in her native Mississippi for decades. She has two gay sons and believes God loves them like everyone else. A representative for the conservative American Family Association doubts advertising will have much effect on religious attitudes. I'm Ryan Vasquez, APR News. University of Alabama students are helping our servicemen and women for Veterans Day. APR’s student reporter Josh Hoppenstein reports these students are showing their appreciation in a non-traditional way. The University of Alabama Student Government Association is teaming with the West Alabama Tuscaloosa Rotary Club to send veterans to Washington D.C. It’s all part of an effort called Honor Flight. That’s a program that sends veterans of World War II and the Korean War to Washington D.C. to see their memorials. Branden Greenberg is SGA’s Speaker of the Senate at The University of Alabama. He says Alabama’s student was inspired by one in Missouri and it’s a great way to thank Veterans for their service. “Our goals for honor flight is first and for most to make sure this worthwhile cause is continuing to go throughout our existence. As long as we live we want to see our veterans go back to our nation’s capital, see their memorials and really understand how appreciative that we are that they served our country.” To get more information on the University of Alabama’s SGA efforts to help Honor Flight, you can go to their Facebook page. For APR news, I’m Josh Hoppenstein in Tuscaloosa.