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DACA Recipients: The Influence that Legislation Could Bring

Image from: https://georgiarecorder.com/2020/07/08/daca-recipients-are-essential-to-georgias-economy/

DACA Recipients: The Influence that Legislation Could Bring

By Rodrigo Ruiz-Tello

During the Presidential campaign of Joseph Biden, he announced that he planned to pass legislation to allow for those who are DACA recipients to have a quick and clear path to citizenship, along with other policies for immigrants who are not DACA recipients. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) defers the removal of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, maintained lawful behaviour, and are currently enrolled in schools or enlisted in the military. The passing of this intended legislation by the Biden Administration could bring huge changes to many latinx families, society, and Latinx representation in Georgia.

DACA recipients, even though they have received the opportunity to remain in the United States, are still at a huge disadvantage than US citizens. Not many states offer in-state tuition for undocumented students, and unfortunately Georgia is not one of those states. Therefore, DACA recipients have no choice, but to pay out-of-state tuition, which can be more than twice the cost for students who are citizens of that state. According to a study conducted in 2015, 77% of the DACA recipients in the study demonstrated extreme concern for funding their education (Mulhere, 2015). With the increased cost of tuition, DACA students are forced to balance various activities into their schedule, such as more than one job to pay for their education, internships, classes, and studying. However, the passage of the policy that President Biden has introduced would allow DACA recipients, once they have become United States citizens, to be eligible for the in-state tuition rate and would also allow them to apply for the state’s financial aid. The legislation would not only aid these DACA recipients financially, but would also help improve their mental health.

Debt has a major role when it comes to mental health because it can make a person lack financial security in the future. The interest that adds up on the private loans that DACA students are able to receive may overwhelm those affected. According to Into Higher Ed., these students also continuously experience discrimination due to their legal status. They also face the fear of their family members being deported, fear of DACA being removed, and feelings of guilt for the opportunity that they were given.

Giving DACA recipients the opportunity to become US citizens would allow for more Latinos to be eligible for public offices that lack Latino representation. For example, Georgia has never had a Hispanic elected to represent the state in Congress throughout its history (United States House of Representatives).  The policy could also possibly add 45,939 new voters for the state of Georgia, and over 700,000 nationwide (Governing). These possible new numbers of voters would create major changes in the United States, due to the close election results in various states during the last Presidential elections, such as Georgia.

During the 2020 presidential elections, the state of Georgia had a difference of 11,779 votes between both of the presidential candidates (CNN). An extremely close margin that could also be affected significantly if there were more voters that could represent the Latinx community. According to the Pew Research center, Latinos make up only 5.0% of voters in the state of Georgia, which does not fully represent the full Latino population in the state, which is 9.8%.

The legislation that the Biden Administration wishes to pass for DACA recipients is capable of not only helping these students and their families, but also aiding the fight to increase representation of Latinx communities in the polls across the United States.

Los Beneficiarios de DACA: La Influencia que la Legislación Podría Traer

Durante la campaña presidencial de Joseph Biden, el anunció que planeaba aprobar legislación que permitiera a los beneficiarios de DACA tener un camino rápido y claro hacia la ciudadanía, junto con otras políticas para los inmigrantes que no son beneficiarios de DACA. La Acción Diferida para Llegadas de Niños (DACA) detuvo la deportación de inmigrantes indocumentados que fueron traídos a los Estados Unidos como niños, mantienen un comportamiento legal y actualmente están matriculados en escuelas o alistados en el ejército. La aprobación de esta legislación por parte de la Administración Biden podría traer grandes cambios a muchas familias latinxas la sociedad, y la representación latina en Georgia.

Los beneficiarios de DACA, a pesar de que han recibido la oportunidad de permanecer en los Estados Unidos, todavía están en una gran desventaja que los ciudadanos estadounidenses. Algunos estados no ofrecen matrícula estatal para estudiantes indocumentados, y desafortunadamente Georgia es uno de esos estados. Por lo tanto, los beneficiarios de DACA no tienen otra opción que pagar matrícula para no residentes, que puede ser más del doble del costo para los estudiantes que son ciudadanos de este estado. Según un estudio realizado en 2015, el 77% de los beneficiarios de DACA en el estudio demostraron extrema preocupación por la financiación de su educación (Mulhere, 2015). Con el aumento del costo, los estudiantes de DACA se ven obligados a equilibrar diversas actividades en su horario, como más de un trabajo para pagar por su educación, pasantías, clases y estudios. Sin embargo, la aprobación de la política que ha introducido el Presidente Biden permitiría a los beneficiarios de DACA, una vez que se hayan convertido en ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos, ser elegibles para el costo estatal y también les permitiría solicitar la ayuda financiera del estado. La legislación no sólo ayudaría financieramente a estos beneficiarios de DACA, sino que también ayudaría a mejorar su salud mental.

La deuda tiene un papel importante cuando se trata de la salud mental porque puede hacer que una persona carezca de seguridad financiera en el futuro. El interés que se suma en los préstamos privados que los estudiantes de DACA son capaces de recibir puede abrumar a los afectados. Según Into Higher Ed., estos estudiantes también sufren discriminación continua debido a su estatus legal. También enfrentan el temor de que sus familiares sean deportados, el temor de que DACA sea removida, y sentimientos de culpa por la oportunidad que se les dio.

Dar a los beneficiarios de DACA la oportunidad de convertirse en ciudadanos estadounidenses permitiría a más latinos ser elegibles para cargos públicos que carecen de representación latina. Por ejemplo, Georgia nunca ha tenido un hispano elegido para representar al estado en el Congreso a lo largo de su historia (United States House of Representatives). La política también podría añadir 45,939 nuevos votantes para el estado de Georgia, y más de 700,000 a nivel nacional (Governing). Estos posibles nuevos números de votantes crearían cambios importantes en los Estados Unidos, debido a los apretados resultados electorales en varios estados durante las elecciones presidenciales de 2020, como Georgia.

Durante las elecciones presidenciales de 2020, el estado de Georgia tuvo una diferencia de 11,779 votos entre los dos candidatos presidenciales (CNN). Un margen extremadamente cercano que también podría verse afectado significativamente si hubiera más votantes que pudieran representar a la comunidad latina. Según el Centro de Investigación Pew, los latinos sólo representan el 5.0% de los votantes en el estado de Georgia, que no representa plenamente a toda la población latina en el estado, que es del 9.8%.

La legislación que la Administración Biden desea aprobar para los beneficiarios de DACA es capaz no sólo de ayudar a estos estudiantes y sus familias, sino también de ayudar a la lucha para aumentar la representación de las comunidades latinas en las votaciones electorales en los Estados Unidos.

Works Cited

Laura Litvan and Erik Larson | Bloomberg. “Analysis | ‘Dreamers,’ DACA and Biden’s First Try on Immigration.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Jan. 2021, www.washingtonpost.com/business/dreamers-daca-and-bidens-first-try-on-immigration/2021/01/22/06bd1c1e-5cdb-11eb-a849-6f9423a75ffd_story.html.

“The Biden Plan for Securing Our Values as a Nation of Immigrants.” Joe Biden for President: Official Campaign Website, 5 Aug. 2020, joebiden.com/immigration/.

“Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).” The White House, The United States Government, 21 Jan. 2021, www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/preserving-and-fortifying-deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals-daca/#:~:text=This%20memorandum%2C%20known%20as%20the,or%20enlisted%20in%20the%20military.

Study Finds Undocumented Colleges Students Face Unique Challenges, www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/26/study-finds-undocumented-colleges-students-face-unique-challenges.

“Hispanic-American Representatives, Senators, Delegates, and Resident Commissioners by State and Territory, 1822–Present: US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives.” Hispanic-American Representatives, Senators, Delegates, and Resident Commissioners by State and Territory, 1822–Present | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives, history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/HAIC/Historical-Data/Hispanic-American-Representatives-and-Senators-by-State-and-Territory/.

DACA Recipients By State, www.governing.com/archive/daca-approved-participants-by-state.html.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org.  

NOTA: Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son sólo las opiniones del autor. No es de suponer que las opiniones sean de GALEO o el GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. Para la posición oficial sobre cualquier tema de GALEO, por favor contacte a Jerry González, CEO de GALEO en jerry@galeo.org.

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Advocacy Groups Participate in Positive Legislative Hearing for Expanded Access for Immigrant Students While Calling For less Restrictions

Advocacy Groups Participate in Positive Legislative Hearing for Expanded Access for Immigrant Students While Calling For less Restrictions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2021

CONTACT INFORMATION
James C. Woo
404.585.8446 x 104
jwoo@advancingjustice-atlanta.org

Atlanta, GA — On Friday, February 19th, Advancing Justice-Atlanta testified acknowledging the progress made towards tuition equity with the hearing of bipartisan supported House Bill 120, Georgia Resident In-State Tuition Act (HB 120). We appreciate Representative Kasey Carpenter’s efforts in bringing HB 120 before the House Higher Education Committee. The committee hearing included its share of distractions which Chairman Chuck Martin handled with care while reminding everyone of the purpose of today’s hearing and providing an opportunity for everyone to provide testimony. Though the bill still leaves out thousands of Georgians, Friday’s committee meeting shows that there is a shared goal towards providing equity for immigrant students.

During Friday’s hearing, a diverse group of supporters discussed and provided feedback on HB 120. There was nearly universal support for extending in-state tuition to DACA recipients among all those who testified. Testimony included impacted community members who bravely shared their stories.

As reflected in its initial version, HB 120 provides conditions for noncitizen students to receive in-state tuition in Georgia at non-research universities in the University System of Georgia. During Friday’s hearing, a substitute bill was shared that added further restrictions to the bill. Despite its intention to create equitable access, the new language makes DACA recipients and other deferred action recipients the only noncitizens eligible for in-state tuition. This excludes the vast majority of noncitizens in Georgia, including Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), asylees, immigrants with TPS (Temporary Protected Status), and immigrants issued U-visas and T-visas, among others.

Further, the bill does not allow noncitizen students to apply for in-state tuition if they attend Georgia State University or Augusta University or if they are over the age of 30 at the time of application for admission. These are arbitrary and unnecessary restrictions that further prevent Georgia’’s noncitizen students from obtaining equitable access to higher education.

As members of the Georgia Immigrant Rights Alliance, the only immigrant-led statewide policy table in Georgia, we support expanding access to in-state tuition but are committed to pushing for wider and more inclusive expansion.  HB 120 is a step in the right direction, but it falls short for countless students and their families who need better access to higher education.

Sincerely,

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta

Asian American Advocacy Fund

Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition

Council on American-Islamic Relations Georgia

Coalition of Lideres Latinos

Georgia Association of Latina Elected Officials

Georgia Shift

Laotian American Society

Latino Community Fund Georgia

Poder Latinx

Sur Legal Collaborative

U-Lead Athens

Women Watch Afrika

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Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Adam Sweat, asweat@progeorgia.org

Karuna Ramachandran, kramachandran@advancingjustice-atlanta.org

Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process

Friday, February 5, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA)- Amidst a barrage of anti-voting bills dropped in both chambers of Georgia’s legislature, Georgia’s Senate and House have both introduced resolutions that propose an amendment to the state constitution to provide that legislative and congressional redistricting would be conducted by a nonpartisan, independent redistricting commission instead of Georgia’s general assembly. Senate Resolution 20 and House Resolution 55 (also cited as the Democracy Act) call for the creation of a “Citizens Redistricting Commission” that would be responsible for redistricting in Georgia. The resolutions also call for the creation of an online portal through which the public can access map proposals and submit their own maps for consideration as well.

“For years, we have advocated for redistricting to be conducted before the public eye. We have had to remain ever vigilant against voter suppression and we know that gerrymandering [the process of manipulating district lines to ensure a candidate’s success] is a very powerful form of voter suppression. When redistricting is conducted behind closed doors, we know we have a battle before us to protect and defend our communities,” says Helen Butler, Executive Director of The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

In Georgia, redistricting is decided upon by the general assembly, which usually means that legislators in office get to use their power to ensure they will get re-elected, regardless of what voters want. Advocates with the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) – a coalition of organizations working towards fair, equitable, and transparent redistricting with a racial equity lens – have pushed for greater transparency with this process, which largely takes place behind closed doors.

According to Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO, “Having an independent, citizens redistricting commission in Georgia is one step towards equitable and transparent redistricting however the commission alone is not enough. Fair redistricting includes the voices of those disproportionately affected by racial and partisan gerrymandering of the past. And in order to have a voice, these communities need the education about and access to the process.”
Language access continues to be a concern for redistricting and voting rights advocates. “We can no longer conduct such critical processes in English-only. By doing so we exclude thousands of Georgians who deserve to have their voices heard,” shares Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta.

Gigi Pedraza, Executive Director of LCF-Georgia shares, “We commend resolution sponsors for making strides to reform Georgia’s redistricting process. Much work lies ahead to have meaningful and transformative changes that will ensure our communities are truly represented. The GRA is committed to strengthening our relationships with community members across the state so that together we can make this change a reality.”

To learn more about the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) and our member organizations, please visit
garedistrictingalliance.org .

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My Experience with a Virtual Internship

My Experience with a Virtual Internship

By Giselle Simental

My name is Giselle Simental. At this point, I have become a former GALEO intern.

2020 was a very challenging year for everyone but I feel that it was harder on students. Many had internships lined up and ready to go but had to be dismissed because of COVID-19. Everything went virtual and with that so did internships.

My internship with GALEO was virtual. It was very different process and involvement than my previous internships. The work I was doing was mostly behind the scenes. Nonetheless, my internship with GALEO was such an experience. From late nights working on graphics, to helping get the word out to vote, to even phone banking. This experience was one for the books. I had an amazing team. They all wanted nothing but the best for the organization and I believe that’s what allowed this whole virtual experience to be successful. We all had one goal in common and that was to spread accurate information and increase civic engagement in the Latinx Community during the general election and the senate runoff election in Georgia.

If you are having any doubts in applying to this internship, do yourself a favor and apply! It’s such a great opportunity to help your community become stronger. You will be the one making a difference. You might feel like you are not but trust me, GALEO will allow you to take on so much knowledge. Knowledge that you will use on a day-to-day basis. You will spread information that will help those that are not familiar with the political process. Little by little, without even realizing it, you’ll be making a difference in people’s lives too.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org.  

NOTA: Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son sólo las opiniones del autor. No es de suponer que las opiniones sean de GALEO o el GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. Para la posición oficial sobre cualquier tema de GALEO, por favor contacte a Jerry González, CEO de GALEO en jerry@galeo.org.

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The Georgia Runoffs: Record Breaking Beyond Numbers

The Georgia Runoffs: Record Breaking Beyond Numbers

By: Jennifer Manzano

(Image from The Nation)

The social media posts, yard signs, constant phone calls and text messages, and even canvassers at your door. “All eyes on Georgia” for this election season was more than a slogan but a temporary lifestyle for us Georgia natives. There was much at stake, so our nation, as well as community, made sure we knew it. Throughout the process, we didn’t simply meet expectations, but absolutely took over headlines, broke record numbers and, most importantly, changed historical outcomes.

Let’s talk numbers. With a spending of approximately $366 million through December, this has been the most expensive senate race EVER. The 2020 election cycle has been twice as costly as the last presidential election (Evers, Georgia Senate.). However, it is evident that the money went to good use. With approximately 5.4 million eligible voters in Georgia, an estimated 4.5 million actively voted in the runoff.  That means about 83 percent of voters who have this right, exercised it. With a national voter turnout average of 60 percent, this is incredible. To put it more into perspective, Georgia had approximately 2.05 million voters turn-out for the presidential election, meaning we got more than double the number of people to vote for our state’s runoff.

Though these numbers are impressive, this election has proven and done so much more. Because of previous voter turn-out, analysts don’t traditionally account for lower income and marginalized folks. These people are voters who feel that the government has failed them and have disengaged with the government.

This cycle, however, has sparked a new atmosphere with voting. Maybe it was because the candidates weren’t simply talking to their voters but marching alongside them. Personally, this has been the first time I have seen representation of myself in campaigns or have ever felt, seen, and truly heard by candidates and their team members. Regardless of the reason, this election did not feel like a duty, but a right people were excited to exercise. From the vast number of volunteers, free food at polls, and mini dance parties at election sites, the majority was elated and hopeful when voting.

This is the Georgia we have one day hoped to see. The one that was built on civil rights movements and immigrant’s hard work. One that is uniting, voting, and rising together. It would be foolish to say our work is complete, but one thing is for certain: expectations have been raised and the pressure is on. We have the power to reclaim the levers of power in our democracy and even reimagine what is possible for the south.

Highlighting a few organization who have mobilized and played a great role in this election:

  • MiJente
  • Poder Latinx
  • GALEO
  • Georgia Votes
  • Latino Community Fund
  • Mi Familia Vota

Sources

https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/elections/georgia_breaks_all-time_voting_record

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/01/georgia-senate-races-shatter-records/

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org.  

NOTA: Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son sólo las opiniones del autor. No es de suponer que las opiniones sean de GALEO o el GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. Para la posición oficial sobre cualquier tema de GALEO, por favor contacte a Jerry González, CEO de GALEO en jerry@galeo.org.

 

 

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The Point of View of a Poultry Plant Worker’s Family Member During COVID-19

The Point of View of a Poultry Plant Worker’s Family Member During COVID-19

By Anonymous Member of GALEO Community

Hall County is known as the poultry capital of the state. Unfortunately, to this day the poultry industry in Hall County cares more about profits than its employees.

During the start of the pandemic, every business followed CDC regulations as well as the state lockdown. Poultry plants, on the other hand, took it upon themselves to increase production while putting their employees at a serious risk. On April 28,2020 Hall County emerged as north Georgia’s COVID-19 hot spot. During that time Hall confirmed 1,132 COVID-19 cases. Health officials stated that at least some of those patients came from the area’s chicken processing plants.

11Alive interviewed Vanesa Sarazua with the Gainesville-based Hispanic Alliance of Georgia, representing a community that drives much of the labor in chicken plants. Ms. Sarazua said in her interview “We didn’t have masks. Workers didn’t have masks. We didn’t have the luxury of staying home during this COVID crisis but had to hit the road running to go to work and continue to work throughout the crisis,” she said.

My mother is one of those workers. When the pandemic started, she was scared to go to work but knew she couldn’t take time off because bills needed to get paid. I went and stocked up on cleaning supplies. I made sure she had masks because her job did not and to this day is not providing PPE. To this day, the plant where she works expects every employee to buy their own PPE as well as to report to work every day.

The disbelief and anger I felt and still do feel seeing my mother risk her health because the company’s owner values profit more than the health of his employees, including that of my mother’s, is astronomical. To this day,  my mother could realistically end up in the hospital due to the health measures that are not being taken. My family can end up in the hospital if she unknowingly brings back home the virus.

What will it take for these poultry plants to take this pandemic seriously? To take the health of its workers seriously?  They can easily provide masks, hand sanitizers, soaps, etc. but choose every day not too. My local convenience store has FREE masks for customers. I see no argument as to why poultry plant workers have to provide their own PPE! It’s a shame how these companies handled this. It’s a blessing in disguise because now we see that these companies do not care about their employees one bit.

Works Cited

https://www.11alive.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/kemp-visits-poultry-plant/85-7d845d0b-121d-45f5-9839-b39b7a6110b0

Author: Doug Richards   Published: 5:58 PM EDT May 15, 2020

Article_15c1baae-8f3f-11ea-8d0c-07c1322a86b2.html

Hall County emerges as Georgia’s latest coronavirus hot spot

Barmel Lyons, Rebekka Schramm

Picture details: https://www.thepoultrysite.com/news/2020/06/us-experts-warn-that-poultry-workers-are-at-risk-of-covid-19-infections-despite-economic-reopening

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org.  

NOTA: Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son sólo las opiniones del autor. No es de suponer que las opiniones sean de GALEO o el GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. Para la posición oficial sobre cualquier tema de GALEO, por favor contacte a Jerry González, CEO de GALEO en jerry@galeo.org.

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Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Adam Sweatasweat@progeorgia.org

Karuna Ramachandran, kramachandran@advancingjustice-atlanta.org

Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process

Friday, February 5, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Amidst a barrage of anti-voting bills dropped in both chambers of Georgia’s legislature, Georgia’s Senate and House have both introduced resolutions that propose an amendment to the state constitution to provide that legislative and congressional redistricting would be conducted by a nonpartisan, independent redistricting commission instead of Georgia’s general assembly. Senate Resolution 20 and House Resolution 55 (also cited as the Democracy Act) call for the creation of a “Citizens Redistricting Commission” that would be responsible for redistricting in Georgia. The resolutions also call for the creation of an online portal through which the public can access map proposals and submit their own maps for consideration as well.

“For years, we have advocated for redistricting to be conducted before the public eye. We have had to remain ever vigilant against voter suppression and we know that gerrymandering [the process of manipulating district lines to ensure a candidate’s success] is a very powerful form of voter suppression. When redistricting is conducted behind closed doors, we know we have a battle before us to protect and defend our communities,” says Helen Butler, Executive Director of The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

In Georgia, redistricting is decided upon by the general assembly, which usually means that legislators in office get to use their power to ensure they will get re-elected, regardless of what voters want. Advocates with the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) – a coalition of organizations working towards fair, equitable, and transparent redistricting with a racial equity lens – have pushed for greater transparency with this process, which largely takes place behind closed doors.

According to Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO, “Having an independent, citizens redistricting commission in Georgia is one step towards equitable and transparent redistricting however the commission alone is not enough. Fair redistricting includes the voices of those disproportionately affected by racial and partisan gerrymandering of the past. And in order to have a voice, these communities need the education about and access to the process.”

Language access continues to be a concern for redistricting and voting rights advocates. “We can no longer conduct such critical processes in English-only. By doing so we exclude thousands of Georgians who deserve to have their voices heard,” shares Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta.

Gigi Pedraza, Executive Director of LCF-Georgia shares, “We commend resolution sponsors for making strides to reform Georgia’s redistricting process. Much work lies ahead to have meaningful and transformative changes that will ensure our communities are truly represented. The GRA is committed to strengthening our relationships with community members across the state so that together we can make this change a reality.”

To learn more about the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) and our member organizations, please visit garedistrictingalliance.org.

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Georgia Votes Declares: Don’t Bother My Ballot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Adam Sweat

asweat@progeorgia.org, 678-951-2172

Georgia Votes Declares: Don’t Bother My Ballot 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Yesterday, on the heels of a string of proposed legislation that aims to roll back Georgia voters’ access to the ballot, Georgia Votes held a press conference demanding fair and transparent election laws for the state.

“After what many would argue was the most successful election in Georgia history given the volume of voter turnout especially during a pandemic, we are now faced with the specter of regressive laws that seek to suppress the voices and votes of Georgia residents,” said Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “There has been no evidence to date of massive absentee voting fraud in Georgia or elsewhere in the 2020 election cycle,” she continued, “and there should be no rush to change a process based upon false narratives about absentee ballot fraud.”

Georgia Votes collaborative includes: All Voting is Local-Georgia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Black Voters Matters, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause Georgia, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LCF Georgia, League of Women Voters of Georgia, Georgia NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The New Georgia Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The collaborative rejected baseless claims of voter fraud and emphasized a need to expand, rather than suppress the voting rights of communities across the state.

“Georgia’s systems are set up to be secure and have multiple failsafes to prevent improper voting. Elections officials double-check absentee ballot applications and returned ballots against the voter rolls,” said Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause. “Elections officials perform signature verification on both the application and the outside envelope of voted ballots. Voters with internet access are able to track their ballots online. The system is set up to be secure — and it works. The Cobb County audit proved that.”

The collaborative insists that there are alternative means for confirming the identity of voters who submit absentee ballot applications and ballots that are far less burdensome than any of the proposals set forth thus far.  With nearly a dozen new voter restriction laws introduced in the last week, Georgia Votes is on high alert and prepared to mobilize to make sure that Georgia state legislators know that voters want more – not fewer – options to participate in the democratic process.

“Copying photo IDs multiple times during an election cycle is an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on voters,” said Jerry Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. “In a single election cycle, voters could be forced to make 10 or more copies of their photo ID to enclose with each application for an absentee ballot and with the ballot itself. This is just another attempt to curtail the rights of everyday Georgians and to make it harder for diverse, underrepresented and unserved members of our community to vote.”

This proposed legislation would place an undue burden on the communities of color that showed record turn out in Georgia’s 2020 election cycle.

AAPI voters, along with Black and Hispanic voters, proved instrumental to the historic voter turnout we’ve seen over the past year. “Bills such as SB 29 take a direct aim at the culture of civic engagement that we’ve been able to build in Georgia. This bill and bills like it are detrimental to voters of all kinds, not just because of race and color, but also because of socioeconomic status,” said LaVita Tuff, Policy Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta. “If we dont push back on bills of this kind, we will continue to see a false narrative painted and stated against voters that are untrue, not sustainable, and will continue to threaten their civic engagement and civil rights. We cannot stand for it.”

The full press conference can be viewed here.

About Georgia Votes
Georgia Votes is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities. Georgia Votes supports and coordinates the civic engagement programs of our diverse partner organizations, and develops the infrastructure, executes the joint strategies, and employs new tools and technology to assure a government that is more responsive to the needs of our constituencies.

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GALEO Announces the 14th Annual Cesar Chavez Essay Contest. Great Prizes Included! Deadline: February 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO,  jerry@galeo.org, 678.691.1086, for media inquiries.

Polo Vargas, GALEO, polo@galeo.org, 770.558.2236, for contest questions.

(Norcross, Georgia) – January 29, 2021 –

The GALEO Leadership Council has announced details for the 14th Annual Cesar Chavez Essay Contest. The intention of the contest is to increase awareness of the continual plight of farm workers and their contributions to America while honoring civil rights legend Cesar Chavez.

Chavez’s leadership was critical to organizing farm workers and founding what is today known as the United Farm Workers union. Chavez remains one of the foremost Latino leaders in American history. His birthday is recognized as a state holiday in California, Colorado and Texas, and GALEO supports the movement to create a national holiday in honor of Chavez.

High school students and adults residing in the state of Georgia are encouraged to participate and submit their essays for consideration in one of three categories. Categories include:

  • Adult category (essays submitted in Spanish or English)
  • High school student category (essays submitted in Spanish or English)
  • ESOL high school student category (essays submitted in English by ESOL students)

Deadline for submissions is February 28, 2021.

All eligible entries received by the deadline will be judged equally on the following criteria: clarity of message, creativity, accuracy of content, potential to draw attention to policies which improve the lives of farm workers, and conventions of writing an essay.

First, second, and third place winners from each category will receive prizes accordingly:

  • 1st Place Winners – $200 Amazon Gift Card
  • 2nd Place Winners – $75 Gift Card
  • 3rd Place Winners – $50 Gift Card

Visit bit.ly/galeochavez2021 for official rules, regulations, and registration, as well as to submit your essay electronically.

If you choose to mail your essay instead, please print out, fill out the registration form, and mail the registration form with your essay. You can find the printable registration form here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wP53prf2p4NidQx57dvEj8PlY8Tk6Dwi/view?usp=sharing

“Cesar Chavez is an American hero, and we want Georgians to learn more about his legacy,” said Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO. “This contest helps educate students and adults alike and brings attention to the importance of farmworkers in our state,” he added.

The Cesar Chavez Essay contest is coordinated and led by the GALEO Leadership Council. The GALEO Leadership Council is comprised of alumni of the GALEO Institute for Leadership and GALEO members statewide.

MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE THE OFFICIAL ENTRY FORM that must accompany any essay.

These are the essay topics (Choose One):

  1. Why are farm workers important in Georgia?
  2. Cesar Chavez & Rev. Martin L. King, Jr. both believed in peaceful nonviolent protests. Why was this ideology important to the civil rights movement?
  3. How has Cesar Chavez influenced your life and what impact will his work have on your future?
  4. Why should we have a national holiday honoring Cesar Chavez?
  5. How did Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta both ensure that the United Farm Workers union was a success story?

 

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RELEASE: Experts and Advocates Discuss Legalization of Undocumented Essential Workers in Economic Recovery as More Than 500 Organizations Call on Congress To Act

Center for American Progress Logo

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2021

Contact
Claudia Montecinos
cmontecinos@americanprogress.org

 

RELEASE: Experts and Advocates Discuss Legalization of Undocumented Essential Workers in Economic Recovery as More Than 500 Organizations Call on Congress To Act

Washington, D.C. — As President Joe Biden and Congress begin work on a coronavirus relief and economic recovery package, a diverse group of more than 500 national, state, and local organizations representing a broad range of interests and constituencies wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The signatories requested that Congress use all necessary legislative tools to include in such legislation permanent protection and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, particularly Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and the estimated 5 million undocumented workers who have been on the front lines during this pandemic, as well as their families.

The letter was released during a press call featuring experts and advocates who articulated why including a path to citizenship for these individuals is a critical tool to ensure that the recovery is as bold, dynamic, inclusive, and equitable as it needs to be to meet the many challenges the country is facing today.

After the press call, Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, said:

For the coronavirus relief and economic recovery package to rise to the multiple challenges facing the country today—for it to be sufficiently dynamic and equitable—it must include permanent protection and a path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers and their families, as well as Dreamers and TPS holders, who have long contributed to this country and who continue to show up when we need them most. Congress must use every tool at its disposal—including the budget reconciliation process—to lay the groundwork for a recovery that is resilient and just.

Felicia Wong, president and CEO at the Roosevelt Institute, said:

When COVID-19 struck, more than 5 million undocumented essential workers kept our economy going at great risk to themselves and their families. Enough is enough. We must build an inclusive economy that works for all; we must make sure that essential workers have legal protections. It is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. It’s good for the economy.

The deputy vice president for Policy and Advocacy at UnidosUS, Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, added:

We cannot have the health and economic recovery that we need for the nation if we don’t include all those who are caring for our country. We have an opportunity to do just that, and it includes citizens and immigrants alike. Immigrant workers have been standing up for us, and now it is our time to stand up for them. We are doing just that by fighting for the inclusion and protection of these workers in relief and economic recovery legislation and using every legislative tool, including a budget reconciliation. The Biden administration priorities of addressing COVID 19, racial justice, and economic recovery, all in the context of unifying the country around shared values, require us and Congress to move forward boldly.

Montserrat Garibay, secretary-treasurer at the Texas AFL-CIO, said:

When our country extends rights and protections to more workers, we all benefit. When more people are forced to work in fear and without rights, we are all at greater risk. So, we all have a stake in the immigration fight. It directly affects our ability to lift labor standards, keep all workers safe, and build worker power.

Dr. Diana Andino, a neurology specialist and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, said:

I am one of the estimated 29,000 DACA recipients who are health care workers. During my time in medical school, I dealt with the fear and anxiety of not having a legal status. I managed to push through, and this in some way prepared me to navigate some of the hardest moments and challenges of a global health pandemic. I am hopeful that we can heal together as a nation, but in order to do so, I hope that this country recognizes the people who are taking care of us. I am on the front lines, and I want to have the peace of mind of a permanent legal status so that I can continue caring for my patients and community.

Click here to read the letter and see the list of signatories.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Claudia Montecinos at cmontecinos@americanprogress.org.

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The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

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