Personal Stories

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Personal Stories

See the Gap: ‘You’ve got to be able to deliver when folks need you to’

Trent Thomas, 42, has been doing hair for a while now. And the first thing he’ll tell you is how much of a good thing he’s got going.  “I love it here for a million reasons – some superficial – but it really is such a great place to be,” he said, showing off his boss’s massive plant collection visible from the street outside. Trent was able to keep his job and his paycheck at Orbit Salon, in Birmingham’s Five Points South neighborhood, even when the world slowed down in 2020.

Issues
Health, Medicaid Expansion
Date
January 26, 2023
Author
Whit Sides
Personal Stories

See the Gap: ‘Someone’s got to do something for working folks’

When I first met Katie Franklin, she was juggling requests from three guests at the same time. I’ve been visiting Nail World II, right outside Birmingham, for nearly 20 years, but this visit was different. Someone new was greeting me at the door. Katie is a presence who is not easily forgotten. I learned she was the new salon manager. Honestly, it felt like she was right at home. She made greeting 25 to 30 customers an hour look easy. Her maternal aura and gregarious nature shone bright through all the hustle and bustle.

Issues
Health, Medicaid Expansion
Date
December 22, 2022
Author
Whit Sides
Personal Stories

See the Gap: How Medicaid expansion would improve life for Alabama’s hairstylists and barbers

Throughout our lives, there are many milestones. We go to school dances. We graduate, and we get married. But we don’t get to those moments alone. [caption id="attachment_7589" align="aligncenter" width="341"] Mark Hyde, founder of Forecast Salon in Homewood, performs a color service on a client. (Photo by Whit Sides)[/caption] When we look back at the [...]
Issues
Health, Medicaid Expansion
Date
December 15, 2022
Author
Whit Sides
Personal Stories

Postpartum Medicaid extension brings a glimmer of hope for new mothers in Alabama

This story originally appeared on AL.com. On Mother’s Day in 2014, I found out I was pregnant. For me, the existential dread set in just as deeply as the morning sickness. Motherhood and its crushing weight had been drilled into me my entire life. I told myself it was too hard, that I just wasn’t [...]
Issues
Medicaid Expansion, Budgets, Health
Date
May 9, 2022
Author
Whit Sides
Personal Stories

When Alabama’s coverage gap hit home for my family

This story originally appeared on AL.com. Our borders have become irregular as COVID-19 closes in on almost every part of our lives. The pandemic has made all of us realize how the shapes of our families are becoming irreparably different. This summer, the shape of my own life changed. Cathy Parker was one of my [...]
Issues
Health, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
October 27, 2021
Author
Whit Sides
Personal Stories

‘It’s time for someone to stick up for us’: Walker County’s need for Medicaid expansion

[caption id="attachment_5522" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Rev. Robin Hinkle is the rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Jasper. Her ministry has greatly scaled up food assistance to the community to help ease financial suffering during the COVID-19 recession. (Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church)[/caption] Walker County has gained notoriety in recent years as one of [...]
Issues
Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion, Health
Date
April 15, 2021
Author
Whit Sides
Personal Stories

‘Everything is fine, until it isn’t’

[caption id="attachment_4788" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Elizabeth works at a sewing machine in the family's home. (Photo courtesy of Geoff)[/caption] Part 1: A hard winter ahead Winter has been a long time coming for Geoff* and his wife, Elizabeth*. He didn’t think he could actually feel more anxious than he had since March, when he and his [...]
Issues
Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
December 18, 2020
Author
Whit Sides
Personal Stories

Cover Alabama Conversations: Alabama Arise’s Jim Carnes

Alabama Arise's Sherrel Wheeler Stewart talks to Arise policy director Jim Carnes about how Medicaid expansion would save lives and reduce suffering for hundreds of thousands of adults with low incomes across Alabama. They also discuss how expansion would help the state combat the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild in its aftermath. Listen to the full [...]
Issue
Medicaid Expansion
Date
May 11, 2020
Author
Sherrel Wheeler Stewart