May 2004 – Posting the national motto in public schools is an ongoing project for activist Mark May and AFA-Alabama.
“With this project, our goal is to place the national motto in every classroom across the state,” said Mark. “Currently we have placed 2,200 framed mottos in Alabama classrooms.”
When Mark read about the “In God We Trust” posters in the January 2002 AFA Journal, he immediately wanted to get them in Shelby County Schools. Shelby County, just south of Birmingham-Jefferson County, is one of the state’s fastest growing areas.
Mark and his wife, Sharon, were becoming more and more aware of the culture in which their three young children will grow up. They wanted to be salt and light in a way that makes a difference for their children and for Helena, their Shelby County hometown.
Mark first spoke with Mr. Evan K. Major, superintendent of Shelby County Schools. After their second conversation, the superintendent told Mark, “We’ll set up our own account and accept donations from people who want to help with the expense.”
“It took two days and two donations,” said Mark, “and that took care of all the purchases. It was very evident that it was the hand of God.” He said there was really no resistance to placing the posters in schools.
The school system did not force teachers to display the framed motto posters, but in the county’s 1,970 classrooms, only one teacher declined. Some schools had a short presentation or dedication ceremony when they posted the motto on 9/11, 2002.
“I go into about five different schools as a substitute teacher,” said May, “and the posters are usually in prominent places – over the door or next to the clock – right where kids look!” He helped get posters placed in Talladega City Schools in September, 2003.
Mark assumed leadership of AFA-Alabama in February of this year, after God had worked through circumstances in his family’s life. After a three-year stint in the Army, Mark earned a degree in business at Mississippi State University. He and Sharon married while he was at MSU. After graduation, they moved back to Birmingham for a job.
Mark first worked in the fast food industry and later operated a photography studio. Sharon, a registered nurse, works three 12-hour shifts a week, and Mark now calls himself a stay-at-home dad. Their children are Joseph (6 and in public school), Rachel (4) and Caleb (2). As a substitute teacher, he plans his schedule in conjunction with Sharon’s so that one parent is home with their children every day.
Movie Gallery pornography
Another project Mark has taken on is the rental of pornography in Movie Gallery video stores. Movie Gallery is an Alabama-based company and is believed to be the nation’s top renter of porn videos.
“Pornography is such a dirty word,” said Mark. “We don’t even want to say it. We don’t want to see it, we don’t want to read it and we definitely don’t want to talk about it.”
Mark said Alabama law makes it a crime to promote and distribute obscene material, yet Movie Gallery rents movies with titles such as Striptease, Hotel Erotica, Diary of Lust and No angels.com.
“It is time for good people to stand up against Movie Gallery and protest their assault on our state,” he said. “We don’t need their hard core videos in our state.”
Already, Mark has been interviewed by local TV stations on family issues, which helps raise the visibility of AFA-Alabama. Mark urges other concerned citizens in Alabama to take a stand on both of the projects already under way.
“Don’t rent your movies from Movie Gallery,” he said, “and ask your friends to do the same.” He will be glad to hear from and assist others who want to address the porn video issue in their cities or counties.
Regarding the national motto posters for schools, Mark said, “You can help by donating your time to call or visit your schools. Or, you can donate money to buy the frames and the mottos for the classrooms. We also need volunteers to put the posters in the frames.” He is eager to assist other Alabamians who may want to initiate a poster project in their school systems.
For more information, contact AFA-Alabama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-205-685-8599.
Posters available at afastore.net.