The Troubling Vaccination Rate of Latinos in Georgia

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The Troubling Vaccination Rate of Latinos in Georgia

By Rodrigo Ruiz-Tello   

April 7, 2021

It has been over a year since the first Coronavirus case was discovered in Georgia. Today, there have been revolutionary advances in controlling the spread of the novel virus with vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. As of April 6, 2021, there have been 4.28 million doses distributed in Georgia, and 1.42 million Georgians are fully vaccinated. However, only 26.5% of Georgia’s population received at least one dose. As the tremendous effort to get Georgia’s residents vaccinated continues, there have been issues emerging regarding minorities having a slower vaccination rate. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, only 3.3% of the Georgians who have received at least one dose of the vaccine are Latinos. To what can we attribute the slow vaccination rate of Latinos in Georgia?

One of the various factors in Latinos’ slow vaccination rate is that they are hesitant to receive the vaccine. This result is due to the lack of information in Spanish and other prominent languages in the Latino community, increasing doubt and misinformation across the population. An interview conducted by the Georgia Public Broadcast found that Latinos desire to hear from their community physicians who have first-hand experience with the vaccine. (Leon, 2021). However, with many vaccinations occurring in the pharmacies of several grocery stores, such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Publix, there has not been the opportunity of having Spanish-speaking physicians accessible to many Latinos.

Cost is also a factor that many consider when deciding on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Due to the lack of translated information, Latinos are unaware that the vaccine is accessible to anyone, regardless of their immigration status. Part of the 1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan that President Biden introduced at the beginning of his term sets a portion of its funds to provide this healthcare aid to all populations free of any cost (Shroeder, 2021).

While many distrust the vaccine, undocumented Latinos in Georgia are afraid to provide information that may form part of databases when registering to have the vaccine administered. Before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the patient is asked for their identification or driver’s license and their health insurance card, which are items that an undocumented immigrant is not eligible to receive. However, Latinos are unaware that they can present their foreign identification and not provide actual health insurance. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that the information gathered from these vaccine registrations would strictly be used for public health purposes and will not be shared with law enforcement or any other agency.

Finally, another prominent issue in the Latino community regarding vaccination is transportation and location. Many Latinos depend on relatives to find a place where they can be vaccinated without fearing a language barrier. According to a study conducted by the Atlanta Archdiocese, roughly 64% of Metro Atlanta Latinos only spoke Spanish or indigenous languages. Along with finding a location, older Latinos depend heavily on their children to attend the vaccination sites. Furthermore, the areas with the highest population of Latinos in Georgia can be found in North Georgia counties, such as Gwinnett, which plays a prominent role in the availability of vaccines.

The vaccine has been distributed in Georgia at a decent pace. However, with the very little information provided to non-English speakers, there has been an irregular vaccination rate for residents of color, specifically Latinos. The state of Georgia should work alongside the organizations actively providing translated information, such as the Latino Community Fund (LCF) and the Consulate General of Mexico, to improve the disproportionate vaccination rates (Suro, 2021).


CORE Sites for vaccinations in Cobb, Dekalb, and Fulton.

Information regarding the Covid-19 vaccine from the CDC:

Locate a vaccination site:



Works Cited

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  

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Despite Voter Suppression Attempt, Still We Persist

Despite Voter Suppression Attempts, Still We Persist

By Helen Butler, Executive Director, The People’s Agenda

This year’s legislative session has brought with it many twists and turns. On the heels of record turnout during our General and U.S. Senate Runoffs, and following the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill, members of our state legislature sought to totally upend the democratic process in Georgia. After a slew of voter suppression bills aimed at limiting access to the ballot passed along partisan lines, Governor Brian Kemp recently signed into law an omnibus bill that rolls back voting rights, especially for the most underrepresented and vulnerable members of our communities.

It’s hard to believe that in 2021 we find ourselves on the front lines of a battle against Jim Crow-era like restrictions. Given the massive turnout by voters of color and traditionally “hard to count” residents of our state, however, it’s sadly not a surprise. But, despite the odds against us, we remain undeterred and more committed than ever to make sure we have a fully functioning, equitable and participatory democracy at work in this state. Instead of making it harder to vote, we fervently believe that now is the time to make engaging in the civic process easier for Georgia residents.

The people of this great state, especially New Americans and people of color, have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, by November of last year, Black Georgians had filed 71% more continued jobless claims than white, Asian and Hispanic/Latinx residents combined. The dramatic increase in anti-Asian hate nationwide hit us particularly hard when just weeks ago six Asian women were brutally murdered at Atlanta-areas spas in senseless acts of violence and cowardice. And Latino members of our communities, many of whom are classified as “essential workers” account for nearly one-quarter (21%) of active COVID cases around the state. The social and economic consequences of the pandemic are very real, and in times like this, our elected leaders must reflect the needs and values of the communities they represent. Unfortunately, partisan politics has taken precedence over the needs of real people and the new voting laws we now face will make it harder for significant portions of our communities to actively participate in electoral politics.

Contrary to what their proponents claim, these laws do nothing to protect the electoral process and, instead, do everything to reduce voting options for everyday Georgia residents, especially members of our historically underserved and underrepresented communities. The most egregious of laws restricts voting by mail (absentee voting), shortens the time frames to conduct runoff elections, increases voter identification requirements, reduces the presence of dropboxes in communities, and wrests control of elections administration from local elections officials. The power grab at play serves to do little more than complicate our elections process and further disconnects people from participating fully in our representative democracy. Yet and still, we persist.

Lawsuits are already underway challenging these mass attempts at voter suppression. And while we disavow any legislation that disadvantages or disenfranchises Georgia voters, we are prepared to meet this moment. Our job, as organizers and community advocates, is to make sure that Georgia voters are well apprised of the impact of these new rules and that they are adequately prepared to register and turn out the vote in future elections. Georgia voters deserve to be full participants in our democratic society, and where legislation has failed to make their participation easier, organizations like ours stand on the front lines ready to help people better connect with the electoral process.

Faced with the most egregious attack on voting rights our state has seen in at least two generations, we are encouraging people to stay vigilant and aware. We understand that there is so much that life is throwing our way at this moment, but we want people to remain optimistic, hopeful, and engaged. If our voices and votes didn’t matter so much no one would actively try to suppress them. We know that the road ahead may not be easy, but we are determined to help our state’s democracy live up to expectations. Our voices matter and our votes will count. 2020 turnout was just the beginning. We are forging ahead with an even deeper focus and stronger sense of purpose. Together, we intend to set in motion a wave of civic engagement the likes of which this state has never seen before.

Signatory Organizations 

  1. The People’s Agenda
  2. League of Women Voters of Georgia
  3. Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  4. Women Watch Afrika
  5. Feminist Women’s Health Center
  6. Georgia STAND-UP
  7. Georgia Equality
  8. Rep GA Institute Inc.
  9. Step Up Savannah
  10. GALEO
  11. GALEO Latino Community Development Fund
  12. GALEO Impact Fund, Inc.
  13. Women Engaged
  14. 9to5 Georgia
  15. Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates
  16. ACLU of Georgia
  17. Care in Action
  18. Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS)
  19. Progress Georgia
  20. New Georgia Project
  21. Partnership for Southern Equity
  22. All Voting is Local, Georgia
  23. Black Voters Matter Fund
  24. Atlanta Jobs with Justice
  25. Georgia WAND Education Fund
  26. Environment Georgia
  27. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
  28. Georgia NAACP
  29. Georgia Muslim Voter Project
  30. Common Cause GA
  31. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
  32. McIntosh SEED
  33. National Domestic Workers Alliance-Georgia
  34. Faith in Public Life
  35. New American Pathways
  36. National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
  37. Georgia Conservation Voters
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April 20, 2021


Erik Medina

Department of Communications



 ATLANTA, GA – On April 9th, 2021, GALEO unveiled the latest Latinx leaders to graduate from the GALEO Institute for Leadership in partnership with Georgia State University (GSU) and their Goizueta Scholarship program, sponsored by the GSU’s Latino Student Services & Outreach with the graduation reception celebrated on the premises of The Nett Church in Lilburn, Georgia.

Celebrating the 21st group of Latinx graduates from the program, GALEO Institute for Leadership alumni count stands proudly at 687 graduates. During the ceremony, the Brazillian poet, Aline Mello, shared encouraging words with the graduates while simultaneously urging them to be fundamental leaders in their communities. Elizabeth Silva, GALEO’s Program Coordinator for Leadership Development, celebrated their accomplishments while Jennifer Zenteno directed the efforts of her last graduation with GALEO as Program Manager for Leadership Development.

The graduates developed essential leadership skills while learning from influential community advocates and discovering potential opportunities to increase their newly polished abilities. Various facilitators spoke to the graduates like:

  • Maria Del Rosario Palacios – Entrepreneur, Palacios Contigo, LLC & Community Activist
  • Juliana Henao – GLC Advisory Committee | GIL Facilitator | Alumni 2013
  • Cassandra Johnson- GIL Facilitator and Alumnus
  • Genny Castillo – Regional Engagement Director, SEAP
  • Diana Vela-Martinez – Director of Leadership Chapters for Hispanic Organization Promoting Education
  • Jaime Rangel – State Immigration Associate, FWD. US
  • Katherine Vega – GIL Alumnus & Daytime Project Manager

For years, the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund has led the GALEO Institute for Leadership to cultivate leaders in the Latinx community across the state of Georgia. GALEO established a strategic alliance with the University of Georgia’s Fanning Institute to expand and develop the collective endeavors of the Community Leadership program of our organization.

After devoting over 80 hours to the program, graduates from various counties across Georgia completed modules, group presentations, and several projects virtually due to the global pandemic. The GIL program was a success thanks to the Georgia State University, the Sapelo Foundation, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, the University of Georgia-Fanning Institute, Georgia Power, State Farm Insurance Company, GALEO, and numerous individual donors. We want to thank all of our supporters who are invested in cultivating the next generation of Latinx leaders in Georgia.

On behalf of the GALEO Leadership Community Development Fund staff, we would like to congratulate all the graduates and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

 For inquiries regarding the 2021 statewide GALEO Institute for Leadership, please contact Elizabeth Silva at while photographic still of the graduation are available upon request and our social media pages. On the other hand, for sponsorship opportunities for the 2020-2021 sessions, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO, at

 GALEO is a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, founded in 2013. GALEO strives for a better Georgia where the Latinx community is engaged civically. GALEO contributions are involved in increasing civic participation of the Latinx community and developing prominent Latino leaders throughout Georgia. – 888.54GALEO


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GALEO Staff Updates! (April 2021) / ¡Actualizaciones del Personal de GALEO! (abril de 2021)

April 6th, 2021- Our GALEO family is expanding! As we continue to work for a better and more inclusive Georgia, more staff members join our efforts to protect and educate the Latinx-Hispanic community.

We are delighted to announce that Erik Francisco Medina will be joining us as our Communications Manager. Erik began his journey with us on April 5th, 2021. ss

As the Communications Manager, Erik’s responsibilities will include creating informative content for distribution across various print and digital mediums, press releases, articles, and other media-related and public-facing content. Erik received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Media Studies from the Universidad del Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, and a Master’s in Fine Arts degree in Film and Television Production from Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia. Erik comes to us with more than seven years of experience, having served as a bilingual journalist, writer, filmmaker, and content creator. His recent accomplishments have included co-founding a screenwriting label, Anacaona Pictures, and producing his first independent feature film, Madly. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Erik as he begins his journey at GALEO.

Other exciting news is that Elizabeth Silva, our current Community Organizer, will be taking over the role of Program Coordinator for Leadership Development at GALEO. On the other hand, Nancy Camacho, formerly a canvasser, will be stepping in as our new Community Organizer. Also, Jennifer Manzano, a former intern, will join GALEO as our Special Projects Coordinator. Jennifer will be working closely with the Civic Engagement and Leadership Development department. We want you to know that these staff members will be giving their all in their new roles and will support our efforts as an organization.

However, as some of you may know, Jennifer Zenteno will be leaving GALEO to join forces with the Democratic Party of Georgia as Deputy Political Director for Latinx Outreach. Since Jennifer joined our organization, she has been a worthy and well-respected member of our team. As our former Program Manager for Leadership Development and Citizenship Initiatives, Jennifer was valued by her co-workers and community. We will miss Jennifer’s charm, professionalism, sharpness, and energy. GALEO wishes Jennifer all the best for her future endeavors and believes she will create change wherever she goes. Jennifer will aid GAELO and Elizabeth, our new Program Coordinator for Leadership Development, to ensure that the transition process is healthy and efficient. On behalf of everyone at GALEO and GALEO Impact Fund, please let us all wish Jennifer good luck for the future and bid her a happy farewell as she leaves our organization next week.

Thank you all for supporting GALEO and GALEO Impact Fund as we work for a better Georgia.

Kind regards,

Jerry Gonzalez

Chief Executive Officer

GALEO, GALEO Latino Community Development Fund & GALEO Impact Fund, Inc


6 de abril de 2021-


¡Nuestra familia de GALEO está creciendo! A medida que continuamos trabajando por una mejor Georgia, nuevos miembros de nuestro equipo se unen a nuestros esfuerzos para proteger y educar a la comunidad latino-hispana.

Nos complace anunciar que Erik Francisco Medina se unirá a nosotros como nuestro Gerente de Comunicaciones. Erik comenzó su trayectoria con nosotros el 5 de abril de 2021.

Como Gerente de Comunicaciones, las responsabilidades de Erik incluirán la creación de contenido informativo para distribuir en diferentes medios impresos y digitales, comunicados de prensa, artículos y otros contenidos dirigidos al público general. Erik recibió un Bachillerato en Comunicaciones y Estudios de Medios de la Universidad del Turabo en Gurabo, Puerto Rico, y una Maestría en Bellas Artes en Producción de Cine y Televisión de Savannah College of Art and Design en Atlanta, Georgia. Erik cuenta con más de siete años de experiencia, habiéndose desempeñado como periodista, escritor, cineasta y creador de contenido bilingüe. Sus logros más recientes incluyen co-fundar una firma de redacción de guiones, Anacaona Pictures, y producir su primer largometraje independiente, Madly. Únase a nosotros para dar una cálida bienvenida a Erik.

También, les queremos brindar otras noticias de suma importancia. Elizabeth Silva, nuestra actual organizadora comunitaria, asumirá el cargo de Coordinadora del Programa para el Desarrollo de Liderazgo en GALEO. Por otro lado, Nancy Camacho, anteriormente una representante electoral, se desarrollará como nuestra nueva Organizadora Comunitaria. Además, Jennifer Manzano, una ex-becaria, se unirá a GALEO como nuestra Coordinadora de Proyectos Especiales. Jennifer trabajará de cerca con el departamento de Participación Cívica y Desarrollo de Liderazgo. GALEO asegura que estos miembros de nuestro equipo de trabajo se desempeñaran en sus nuevas posiciones con gracia y valentía.

Sin embargo, como algunos de ustedes sabrán, Jennifer Zenteno se despedirá de GALEO para unir fuerzas con el Partido Demócrata de Georgia como Directora Diputada de Alcance Latinx. Desde que Jennifer se unió a nuestra organización, ha sido respetada y valorada por nuestro equipo. Como nuestra ex-Gerente del Programa para el Desarrollo de Liderazgo e Iniciativas Ciudadanas, extrañaremos el encanto, la profesionalidad, la valentía y la energía de Jennifer. GALEO le desea a Jennifer lo mejor para sus proyectos futuros y creemos que creará un cambio positivo dondequiera que vaya. Jennifer asistirá a GAELO y Elizabeth Silva para garantizar que el proceso de transición sea saludable y eficiente. En nombre de todos en GALEO y GALEO Impact Fund, permítanos desearle lo mejor para Jennifer y despedirla calurosamente cuando termine sus labores en nuestra organización la próxima semana.

Gracias a todos por apoyar a GALEO y GALEO Impact Fund mientras trabajamos por un mejor Georgia.


Jerry González

Director Ejecutivo

GALEO, GALEO Latino Community Development Fund y GALEO Impact Fund, Inc

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A 21st Century Exploration of Femicide in Latin America, the United States and Georgia

Eyepix/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A 21st Century Exploration of Femicide in Latin America, the United States and Georgia

By Stefany Alvarado, Spring 2021 Intern

In May of 2016, Nabila Rifo’s 28-year-old, bloodied body was found a few blocks from her house in Chile. Rifo’s fractured skull and empty eye sockets were evidence of a brutal assault. In July of 2019, Chile’s neighboring country of Bolivia experienced the attack of Mery Vila, 26. She was beaten with a hammer.

Beyond the Isthmus of Panama and across the Atlantic Ocean, Mexico saw two graphic cases in February of 2020. Ingrid Escamilla, 25, was disemboweled one week before Fátima Cecilia Aldrighett’s 7-year-old body was found in a plastic bag. 

These cases have one common factor: women. Each female victim experienced a form of femicide, also referred to as feminicide. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) define it as “the intentional murder of women because they are women.” More broadly, it is also described as “any killings of women or girls.” The term combines “homicide” and “female” to describe violence against women that results in death. 

According to research published by WHO and PAHO in 2012, there are five main types of femicide. 

  1. Intimate femicide occurs when a former husband or boyfriend kills the female partner.
  2. Honor-related femicide happens when “a family member kills one of their own women because of an actual or assumed sexual or behavioral transgression, including adultery, sexual intercourse, pregnancy outside marriage or rape” in order to restore a perceived reputation. 
  3. Dowry-related femicide is when in-laws kill their daughter-in-law because of dowry conflicts. 
  4. Non-intimate femicide occurs when a man, without an intimate relationship to the victim, kills the targeted woman. 
  5. The final form is sexual femicide, which involves forms of sexual aggression leading to a woman’s murder. 

That same year, the United Nations’ Symposium on Femicide expanded on the different forms of femicide to include the following: 

  1. “Torture and misogynist slaying of women;
  2. Targeted killing of women and girls in the context of armed conflict;
  3. Killing of women and girls because of their sexual orientation and gender identity;
  4. Killing of aboriginal and indigenous women and girls because of their gender; 
  5. Female infanticide and gender-based sex selection feticide; 
  6. Genital mutilation related deaths; 
  7. Accusations of witchcraft and
  8. Gender-based murders connected with gangs, organized crime, drug dealers, human trafficking, and the proliferation of small arms.”

Knowing these listed forms of femicide is essential for understanding the cultural and regional context of each murder. A Small Arms Survey study conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland found that 40% of countries with the highest femicide rates between 2004 and 2009 were Latin American. 

In addition, the study showed a concentration of femicides in the Latin Western Hemisphere. Numbers may have differed if adequate data was collected from Africa, Europe and Asia. 

There is no denying the international prevalence of femicides, especially in Mexico, Central America and South America. This same phenomenon affecting women in Latin America also exists in the United States. 

Though this country has not adopted the term femicide, data exists on fatal outcomes from gender violence against women. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice found “intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the United States.” Of that intimate partner homicide subgroup, females accounted for 70% of the victims. Later information, compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Multiple Causes of Death, showed that the United States’ female homicide victim rate in 2016 was the highest since 2007.  

To contextualize femicide in the United States, Vanessa Guillen’s murder must be reviewed. Guillen was a 20-year-old, Mexican-American soldier stationed in Fort Hood, a U.S. Army post located in Killeen, Texas. She went missing in April of 2020, and her dismembered, burned body was found in June of the same year. 

Not every case of female homicide, also known as femicide, will make national headlines like Guillen’s murder. In the state of Georgia, stories of murdered female victims are more readily categorized through statistics. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV),  Georgia was the 10th state with the highest number of women murdered by men in 2017. This fact supports the existence of femicide in Georgia, but there is not much precision when identifying the racial and ethnic background of each victim, meaning it is difficult to identify Latinx cases. 

No matter the region, whether it’s in Latin America, the United States or Georgia, Latina women are being murdered. There has been an international outcry to end femicide, manifesting itself in protests. For example, women marched in Mexico City on March 8 of last year, also International Women’s Day, calling for the government to take action against gender-based violence. Similar protests occurred a few weeks ago in Venezuela and Mexico.

Though the struggles women endure are overwhelming, steps can be taken to support them and challenge femicide. To start on the individual level, it is essential to listen to, respect and believe women. It is equally important to acknowledge internal biases and actively rewire negative personal perceptions. The same goes for identifying and denouncing sexist vernacular and behavior within social groups. 

On a more systemic level, governments must acknowledge and adopt the term femicide into legal jargon. On March 8 of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan bill to renew and improve the Violence Against Women Act, which “creates and supports comprehensive, cost-effective responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking,” according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence. 

However, femicide is not explicitly identified through United States law as it is in some Latin American countries such as Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Each Latin nation that has codified femicide into law has created criminal procedures specific to the murdering of women. Implementation of these laws has been a challenge, but unlike in the United States, femicide distinct legislature exists. 

In addition to legalities, improved data collection and more resources for women would help address femicide. Gathering detailed data is essential because it serves as a guide for institutions looking to create organizations that help women. Caminar Latino is “Georgia’s first and only comprehensive domestic violence intervention program for Latino families.” Data collection would allow for more culture and language specific resources like this to exist. Organizations that support female survivors of violence are integral to combatting femicide because they intervene before physical aggression becomes murder. 

Of the four women mentioned at the beginning, only Rifo of Chile survived her attack. Her eyes were gouged out, but she is alive. Rifo is now seeking justice for her attack through Chile’s femicide law.  

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

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

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Voting Rights Groups, including GALEO, Sue To Stop Voter Suppression Bill in Georgia


ATLANTA—Late last night, the League of Women Voters of Georgia, along with the Georgia NAACP, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Georgia Latino Community Development Fund, Common Cause, and the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe, filed a lawsuit against the state of Georgia to prevent enforcement of SB 202, an omnibus voter suppression bill signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp last week. Plaintiffs argue the bill targets the voting rights of Georgians of color, in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

“The League of Women Voters has fought SB 202 ever since it was introduced, and we’re continuing to fight it now,” said Susannah Scott, president of the League of Women Voters of Georgia. “This bill deliberately targets Black, Latinx, Asian American, indigenous, and other voters of color in a direct attempt to eliminate the voting rights gains of 2020. It’s a despicable attempt by legislators to choose who can vote in our state and who cannot. It’s undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American.”

SB 202 makes cuts to several important mechanisms increasingly used by voters of color, including early voting, absentee ballots, and ballot drop boxes, in addition to adding new and unnecessary ID requirements for absentee ballots. The bill also threatens groups like the League of Women Voters and its partners with fines for assisting voters with their absentee ballots.

“This voter suppression bill in Georgia is an assault on democracy,” said Virginia Kase, CEO of the League of Women Voters of the United States. “The tremendous voter participation of the 2020 election was the culmination of decades of work by grassroots organizers and voting rights advocates. Our states should build on the success of 2020’s historic voter turnout, but instead we are seeing a return to the era of Jim Crow laws. The people of Georgia deserve better. The American voters deserve better.”

The 2020 election saw the greatest voter participation in history, with Georgia seeing an increase in both registration numbers and voter participation—especially among Black and other communities of color. The provisions in SB 202 would not only eliminate Georgia’s growth in voter participation, but it would take voting rights backward in the state, particularly for voters of color who are undeniably targeted by the bill. For instance, SB 202 allows country registrars to eliminate Sunday early voting hours, used by many Black and Brown churches and faith groups to deliver community members to the polls.

“The thinly-veiled attempt to roll back the progress we have made to empower Georgians—to use their voices in the democratic process—creates an arbitrary law that does not improve voter confidence, secure election integrity nor increase access to the ballot box,” said Rev. James Woodall, state president of the Georgia NAACP.

“It is unfortunate that Georgians were lied to because some did not like the results of the 2020 elections,” said Helen Butler, executive director, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “However, passing legislation that gives the majority party too much control over our elections while also creating barriers to voters in a rushed and non-transparent process is not the solution to those lies. Our focus is protecting Georgian’s right to vote. And that is why we have taken this necessary step.”

“The intent of this new law was to discriminate against minority and poor voters in Georgia,” said Jerry Gonzalez, chief executive officer of GALEO Latino Community Development Fund, Inc. “Our communities will stand together to work against these Jim Crow tactics pushing to take our state backwards.”

“This bill was rammed through the process without public participation or a fiscal analysis,” said Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “It’s easy to see the reason why—this bill makes it harder for Black and Brown communities on the margins to vote, and it allows a legislatively-controlled state board to takeover county elections offices and potentially interfere with election certification. This has nothing to do with the ‘public interest’—it’s a partisan effort to maintain power during the 2022 elections.”

Plaintiffs are represented by the Lawyers’ Committee on for Civil Rights Under Law and Hughes Hubbard & Reed.

“Georgia state lawmakers are making it more difficult to vote, criminalizing ordinary voter assistance, and then lying to their own constituents to suggest it is for their own good,” said Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “By limiting access to absentee ballots and early voting, they are targeting our Black and Brown communities. Discriminatory voter suppression is alive and well and it cannot stand.”

“The right to vote is central to our democracy,” said Vilia Hayes, senior pro bono counsel at Hughes Hubbard & Reed. “Democracy works best when all citizens can vote and we are proud to be an active participant in voter protection.”

Read the complaint here.


PRESS CONTACT: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 |

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Georgia Immigrant Rights Alliance Condemns the Passage of Voter Suppression Legislation SB 202

Georgia Immigrant Rights Alliance Condemns the Passage of Voter Suppression Legislation SB 202

For Immediate Release

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Contact:  James Woo, Communications and Outreach Associate



ATLANTA, GA —  The Georgia Immigrant Rights Alliance (GIRA) condemns the passage of voter suppression legislation.  On March 25th, the Georgia legislature passed a bill that is an aggressive attack against the voting power of AAPI, Black, and Brown immigrant voters.  Governor Kemp signed Senate Bill 202 (SB 202) into effect and will disenfranchise thousands of Georgians.

SB 202 is an over 90-page anti-voting bill that was fast-tracked through the legislative process with no notice to advocates, voters, or even other legislators at times. It will restrict early voting, criminalize line warming, allow the Georgia Legislature to usurp power from local boards of election, and create barriers to voting by mail. Of the many sweeping and egregious changes that SB 202 would make to our election system, the dramatic restrictions on absentee voting will directly harm immigrant communities in Georgia.

Georgia saw unprecedented voter turnout during the 2020 election cycle because Georgians were given options to safely and securely cast their ballots while in a global pandemic. Rather than continue to expand Georgians’ access to the ballot, SB 202 will restrict Georgian immigrant communities’ right to make their voices heard. This bill seeks to punish voters who followed the rules by changing the rules. 

Despite the passage of one of the most horrible pieces of voter suppression legislation that Georgia has ever seen, GIRA will continue to fight for the civil and voting rights of AAPI, Black, and Brown immigrant Georgians.  We will continue to make sure that our voices and communities are heard.

Phi Nguyen, Litigation Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta said: “The unnecessary voting barriers presented by SB 202 pose a significant risk of disenfranchisement to the AAPI community and other immigrant communities, who are more likely to face language barriers or be new to the voting process. Forty-four percent of Asian American voters in Georgia are limited English proficient. And in the November 2020 election, more than 45,000 of the 200,000 AAPIs who voted were first time voters. New or first-time voters are also more likely to give up when faced with additional hoops or barriers to voting.”

Jerry Gonzalez, CEO, GALEO said:  “This is a willful attack against minority and poor voters in Georgia.  This legislation does not improve integrity of the election system but creates many more barriers for voters to exercise their right to vote.  The legislation is a perpetuation of the lies of a fraudulent election cycle in 2020.  The only fraud is that this legislation purports to ‘fix’ an electoral system that functioned well in 2020 with record breaking turnout of young, communities of color and normally disenfranchised voters.  The ‘fix’ would be to prevent more minority voters from voting.”

Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood, Executive Director, Asian American Advocacy Fund said: “The passage of SB 202 is direct retaliation for voters of color showing up and making their voices heard in 2020. Every step of the way, Republican lawmakers have proven that they do not care about voters of color, particularly Asian American and immigrant voters who already face barriers to participating in the electoral process.”

Murtaza Khwaja, Legal & Policy Director, CAIR Georgia said: “Chairman Barry Fleming’s insidious attack on our voting electorate by disenfranchising Black and other minority voters from within ‘the people’s house’ is a brazen exploitation of his chairmanship of the Special Committee on Election Integrity. Fleming’s amateur-hour Jim Crow act, in unilaterally ramming through a ninety-three-page substitute to a two-page bill without input from voter advocacy groups, the citizens of Georgia, or a bi-partisan collection of legislators, must be roundly rejected and his chairmanship revoked.”


The Georgia Immigrant Rights Alliance (GIRA) is a statewide policy table led by immigrant communities across Georgia. The purpose of this alliance is to safeguard the rights of Georgian immigrants to create a more equal and just Georgia for immigrants, especially in the context of ongoing discriminatory treatment and targeting of these communities. 

Members and Allies of GIRA

Asian American Advocacy Fund

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta

Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition

Asian Youth for Civic Engagement

Black Alliance for Just Immigration 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations – Georgia

Coalición de Líderes Latinos

Dignidade Inmigrante en Athens 

Federation of Korean American Association of South East & Korean Chamber


GA Familias Unidas

Georgia Muslim Voter Project

Georgia Shift 

Korean American Coalition – Atlanta

Laotian American Society

Latino Community Fund – Georgia

Poder Latinx

Refugee Women’s Network

Southeast Immigrant Rights Network

Sur Legal Collaborative

Women Watch Afrika 

U-Lead Athens

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STATEMENT OF ADVOCACY: Call for Georgia Colleges and Universities to Prepare Teachers to Meet the Needs of Multilingual Learners


STATEMENT OF ADVOCACY: Call for Georgia Colleges and Universities to Prepare Teachers to Meet the Needs of Multilingual Learners


GATESOL, GALEO, GALAS, and LCF Georgia join together to urge Georgia’s colleges and universities to include core TESOL courses as a part of all teacher preparation programs. Adequately preparing

pre-service teachers to meet the needs of multilingual learners is critical.


  • The likelihood that graduates accepting teaching jobs in Georgia will teach multilingual learners is Georgia enrollment in ESOL grew by 61 percent from FY 2011 to FY 2019.
  • Georgia schools are stepping away from teaching content and language In fact, in WIDA’s 2020 ELD Standards Framework, the core principle that integrating language instruction with content instruction is emphasized, thus, making it imperative to have mainstream teachers ready to support EL learners.
  • Many Georgia school districts are already functioning in this progressive zeitgeist of shared Teachers must be prepared for this reality.
  • Every teacher is a language Author on education practice, Larry Ferlazzo states, “For English language learners to succeed academically, teachers must interweave the academic language of each discipline into their instruction.”
  • InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards and Learning Progressions for Teachers 1.0 demand that teachers address “cultural and linguistic diversity and the specific needs of students for whom English is a new ” Hence, TESOL courses in teacher education programs need to include a focus on linguistic diversity, content and language integration and culturally sustaining approaches to multilingual education.


  • Georgia’s educational history tells a story of students from a variety of backgrounds facing In October of 2020 three federal cases were under investigation for discrimination of multilingual learners in Georgia. Stephen Owens airms, “Any argument that ELs are not receiving the resources they need to have equal opportunities would be backed up by history, current litigation and student test scores.”
  • States such as Massachusetts have already put in place guidelines to address the gap in academic proficiency for multilingual Core academic teachers of multilingual learners, principals, assistant principals, supervisors, and directors who evaluate those teachers must all obtain training and licensure requirements for the Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement.
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GALEO Announces Essay Contest Winners for its 14th Annual Cesar Chavez Day on March 31st

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 25th, 2021

(Atlanta, GA) GALEO is proud to recognize the winners for the 14th Annual Cesar Chavez Ceremony. This year’s event will be virtual. The winning essay entries will be recorded and released on Cesar Chavez Day, which is March 31st, and will be published on GALEO’s social media pages (Facebook:

During the virtual event, our Program Coordinator for Operations and Communications, Polo Vargas, will be our host. He will be joined by our three Spring 2021 interns Jennifer, Rodrigo, and Stefany, who will be presenters in the event.

Additionally, our guest speaker will be Magdaleno Rose-Avila. Magdaleno is an activist who worked alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the United Farm Workers (UFM) Union.

The purpose of the ceremony is to honor civil rights legend, Cesar Chavez, and increase awareness of the continual plight of farm workers and their contributions to America. Chavez’s leadership was critical to organizing farm workers and founding what is today known as the United Farm Workers Union. He remains one of the foremost Latino leaders in American history. His birthday, March 31st, is officially recognized as a state holiday in California, Colorado, and Texas. GALEO supports the movement to create this date as a national holiday in honor of Mr. Chavez.

We are honored to announce the following winners of this years’ contest:

High School

1st Place) Reilly O’Neill

2nd Place) Julia Powers

3rd Place) Hayes Woley

High School ESOL

1st Place) Nadia Safi

2nd Place) Abel Worku


1st Place) Jesus Rubio

2nd Place) Maria F. Vizcaino Garcia

3rd Place) Adalina Capuli Merello

Thank you to the GALEO Leadership Council Cesar Chavez Committee co-lead by Rebecca Pool and Kyle Murphy, as well as the full Cesar Chavez Contest essay reviewers for all of their support.

We also thank our prize sponsors for helping us reward our winners for this event. Adult and High School winners will be presented gift certificates (1st-$200; 2nd-$75; 3rd-$50).


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Collective Statement – A Community-Centered Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities

On March 16, eight people were killed at three different spas in North Georgia including six Asian women. We are heartbroken by these murders, which come at a time when Asian American communities are already grappling with the traumatic violence against Asian Americans nationwide, fueled by the United States’ long history of white supremacy, systemic racism, and gender-based violence.

As we collectively grieve and respond to this tragedy, we must lead with the needs of those most directly impacted at the center: the victims and their families. And during this time of broader crisis and trauma in our Asian American communities, we must be guided by a compass of community care that prioritizes assessing and addressing our communities’ immediate needs, including in-language support for mental health, legal, employment, and immigration services.

We must also stand firm in decrying misogyny, systemic violence, and white supremacy. We must invest in long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence and hate in our communities. We reject increased police presence or carceral solutions as the answers.

For centuries, our communities have been frequently scapegoated for issues perpetuated by sexism, xenophobia, capitalism, and colonialism. Asians were brought to the United States to boost the supply of labor and keep wages low, while being silenced by discriminatory laws and policies. From the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, to the forced migration of refugees from U.S.-led military conflict in Southeast Asia, to post-9/11 surveillance targeting Muslim and South Asian communities, to ICE raids on Southeast Asian communities and Asian-owned businesses, Asian American communities have been under attack by white supremacy.

Working class communities of color are disproportionately suffering from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Trump administration’s relentless scapegoating of Asians for the pandemic has only exacerbated the impact on Asian business owners and frontline workers and inflamed existing racism. The hypersexualization of Asian American women and the broad normalization of violence against women of color, immigrant women, and poor women make Asian American women particularly vulnerable. Hate incidents against Asian Americans rose by nearly 150% in 2020, with Asian American women twice as likely to be targeted.

We are calling on our allies to stand with us in grief and solidarity against systemic racism and gender-based violence. Violence against Asian American communities is part of a larger system of violence and racism against all communities of color, including Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.

In this time of crisis, let’s come together and build just communities, where we are all safe, where all workers are treated with dignity and respect, and where all our loved ones thrive.

Individual Sign-Up 

Organization Sign-Up


In Solidarity,

Asian Americans Advancing Justice -Atlanta & Georgia NAACP


Georgia Organizations

159 Georgia Together


9to5, National Association of Working Women

Absolute Justice now & Protect The Vote Ga coalition

ACLU of Georgia

All Voting is Local

Georgia America Votes-Georgia/America Votes

Asian American Advocacy Fund

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Activists

Asian Real Estate Association

Asian Youth for Civic Engagement

Atlanta ATL Radical Art

Atlanta Jobs with Justice

Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)

Black to the Future Action Fund

Black Voters Matter

Cambodian American Association of Georgia

Care in Action

Civic Georgia

Coastal Georgia Minority Chamber Inc

Common Cause GA

Crystal in the City

E Equals MC Squared Educational Services LLC

Environment Georgia

Faith in Public Life

Feminist Women’s Health Center

GA Familias Unidas

GALEO & GALEO Impact Fund

Georgia AFL-CIO

Georgia Alliance for Social Justice

Georgia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda

Georgia Equality

Georgia Muslim Voter Project

Georgia Shift

Georgia Stand-Up

Georgia State AFL-CIO

Georgia Working Families Party

Georgians for a Healthy Future

JCRC of Atlanta

Justice For Georgia

Korean American Coalition

Latino Community Fund Inc.

Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs – Welcoming Atlanta

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

New Georgia Project Action Fund

Partnership for Southern Equity

Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates

Poder Latinx

Progress Georgia

Promote Positivity Movement

Protect The Vote GA

Raksha, Inc

Refugee Women’s Network

Rep GA Institute Inc

Represent GA Action Network Inc

Savannah Undocumented Youth Alliance

Showing Up for Racial Justice – Atlanta

Sierra Club, Georgia Chapter

Southern Poverty Law Center

Taiwanese American Professionals – Atlanta

The Black Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, Inc.

The New Georgia Project

They See Blue Georgia

Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of the Southeast

We Love BuHi (Buford Highway) Inc.

Women Watch Afrika


National/ Out of the State Organizations

Alliance for Youth Action

Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education

America Votes-Georgia/America Votes

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Apna Ghar, Inc.

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO

Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Asian Prisoner Support Committee

Asian Youth for Civic Engagement

ATL Social Change

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Black Lives Matter Global Network

Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry at Fuller Seminary

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

Community Justice Action FundCouncil on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Daya Inc

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)

Equality Labs

Freedom Network USA

GGE Media

Global Sikh Economic Forum

Haitian Bridge Alliance

Hate Is A Virus

Immigration Hub

Innovation Law Lab

Jetpac Resource Center

Jewish Voice for Peace Korean American Center (a division of Korean Community Services)

March For Our Lives GA

Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation

Mekong NYC

MPower Change

Muslim Justice League

National Network for Arab American Communities

National Organization for Women

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence


North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT)


OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates

Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA)

People For the American Way

Pi Delta Psi Fraternity


Sakhi for South Asian Women

Seac village

Seed the Vote

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

South Asian SOAR

South Asian Youth In Houston Unite (SAYHU)

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

Southeast Asian Defense Project

Southeast Asian Freedom Network

State Innovation Exchange (SiX)

Taiwanese American Citizens League

Taiwanese American Professionals – Austin Chapter

Taiwanese American Professionals – New York

Taiwanese American Professionals – San Diego

Taiwanese American Professionals – San Francisco Chapter

Taiwanese American Professionals – WashingtonDC

Taiwanese Americans for Progress

The Revolutionary Love Project

Transforming Generations

Tsuru for Solidarity

Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations

United We Dream

Voto Latino

Yemeni American Merchants Associaiton

Young Bhutanese Coalition of New York

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights


List of organizations updated on March 17, 2021 (4:45 PM EST)

For more information please email

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