MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Efforts to eliminate the sales tax on groceries in Alabama and food access and equity policies will be among the topics discussed during the second annual "Hungry for Justice: Student Poverty and Hunger Summit" on Feb. 19 at Troy University's Montgomery Campus.
The free summit is presented by Troy University's Office of Civic Engagement, TROY social sciences Professor Dr. Sharon Everhardt and Alabama Possible, a statewide non-profit organization that works to reduce systemic poverty in Alabama.
The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Gold Room, located on the second floor of Whitley Hall on the Montgomery Campus.
"The event is designed to bring together students from Alabama's two and four-year colleges and universities for presentations and discussions on issues of poverty and hunger in the state in hopes of encouraging action on the issues," said Jonathan Cellon, coordinator of learning initiatives at TROY. "The conference aims to raise awareness of poverty and hunger, engage students about issues of justice related to poverty and hunger and encourage action on these issues. Students from universities and colleges across Alabama will engage with one another, service providers and advocates in workshop sessions and learning exchanges designed to share ideas, experiences and challenges. Each institution is engaged in meaningful work to address
hunger and poverty in their local communities, and this conference will provide opportunity for collaboration and expansion and for these efforts to be linked in significant ways."
Sen. Gerald Dial will serve as a keynote speaker for the event, addressing his efforts in the state legislature to expand food access through the elimination of the sales tax on groceries in Alabama.
Sen. Dial first introduced a bill in 2014 that would phase out the state's sales tax on groceries over four years, while replacing the lost revenue with incremental increases in sales tax on other purchases.
Dr. Robin O'Sullivan, a lecturer in the History and Philosophy Department on Troy's Dothan Campus, will also serve as a keynote speaker for the event, addressing food access and equity.
Dr. O'Sullivan's areas of research have included environmental and agricultural history, food studies and social movements. Her book, "American Organic: A Cultural History of Farming, Gardening, Shopping and Eating," was published in 2015 by the University Press of Kansas.
The event will also feature sessions on human trafficking, advocacy and public education, and racial inequality and economic injustice.