Justin Vest is a progressive activist who has lived in Alabama for nearly 30 years. He grew up in Alexander City before attending college at the University of Montevallo. He went on to attend the University of Alabama where he earned a master’s degree in social work. Justin has lived throughout the state including Mobile, Montgomery, and Birmingham. He has struggled with poverty for many years while raising a family and working for a regional retail company. This experience solidified his commitment to economic justice and constant pursuit of fair wages and decent employment for all.
Most recently Justin worked in Maryland as a community organizer for a statewide advocacy nonprofit addressing economic and racial justice issues. He has worked with the Center for American Progress, People’s Action, Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy, and numerous other national, state, and local advocacy organizations around the country promoting progressive values.
Justin launched Progressive Alabama out of frustration over the Alabama legislature’s move to block the city of Birmingham from raising its minimum wage and the lack of a visible progressive response. Based on his own personal experiences with poverty as well as having worked with many low-income families as a social worker, he understood the devastating consequences of this action. It became increasingly clear that no singular progressive source existed for Alabama residents who were similarly disillusioned by the powers that be. Therefore Progressive Alabama became a personal project to grow the progressive movement in Alabama and build a tangible resource for the many progressives that live and work in Alabama, striving to make it a better place for all.