Updated: Rev. Al Sharpton to attend forum concerning Cooper Green

Rev Al Sharpton addresses audience

Update 10:20am:Rev Sharpton is preparing to speak now - follow us on twitter ( for updates from the news conference.


Update 8am:Rev. Sharpton has arrived - ABC 33/40 is the only television station at the location.


Nationally-renowned civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton is scheduled to attend a forum Friday morning regarding the future of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, according to an announcement by U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell.

The community forum will take place at 9 a.m. at Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Jefferson County Commissioners voted last month to end inpatient care as a cost-saving measure at the facility by Dec. 1. Since talks began concerning the service, there have been several protests and rallies involving patients, community leaders and elected officials to keep inpatient care open for the area's indigent population. County Manager Tony Petelos announced Thursday that the county has reached a partnership with UAB to provide inpatient service for some of Cooper Green's patients. He says county officials are still in talks with other local hospitals for similar agreements.

A rally is also expected at the Jefferson County Courthouse following Friday's forum.

Stay with ABC 33/40 for details as the story develops throughout the day.