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Georgia Education Barriers for Latino Students

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Georgia Education Barriers for Latino Students

By: Rodrigo Ruiz-Tello

Out of the 1.8 million students attending Georgia schools, Latinos make up 16% of them, which is roughly 288,000 students (Downey, 2018). With Latinos making up such a significant portion of Georgia students, there should be accommodations provided by the educational systems of Georgia to better aid these students and their families. However, this is not the case. According to the journal Educational Barriers for New Latinos in Georgia, there are 6 main issues that Latino students and their families face: lack of understanding of the school system, low parental involvement, lack of residential stability, little school support, few incentives for continued education, and immigrant access to higher education (Bohon, et. al., 2009). As a Latino student myself, I have faced most of the issues that were acknowledged by the journal, and I will discuss the three issues that I found to have the most impact on me. The three issues that I will discuss are limited support from schools, low parental involvement, and few incentives to continue education.

Enrollment of Latinos into Georgia schools has been growing significantly every year, which can partly be attributed to immigration. These newly arrived families in Georgia often are unable to speak English, therefore, their children are unable to comprehend the information that is presented to them in schools. The state of Georgia offers the English as a Second Language (ESL) program to aid the students who have a different primary language. However, the program contains its flaws. The counties that offer the ESL program only have students attend for a very limited time, typically an hour or two throughout the week. Due to the periods of time between attending the programs, the students may be unable to retain the information that they were presented before, which makes the program less effective. Another issue presented for Latinos in schools is that  the speedy curriculum that instructors must follow. Teachers must ensure that all of the information is presented within the limited school year, and that leaves behind the Latino students who are still developing the English language. Latinos of an older age also face this issue because they were held to different educational standards of their origin country. A solution that I see for this issue is for the school systems to create a curriculum to accommodate students with a language barrier, and incorporate the ESL program as part of their daily school routine.

Educational issues are not only a problem in Georgia schools, but also in our household. Many Latino parents fail to be involved in their child’s education, which is partly caused by the language barrier and their recent arrival to the United States. Schools usually offer parent-teacher conferences and other events that are directed to parents, and the purpose of these events are to better introduce them to their child’s learning environment, inform them of their child’s needs, and help create an educational role at home for the parent. However, due to the differences in language, many parents do not often attend these meetings, therefore, keeping the child from receiving help at home apart from school. Often, these parents are unaware that there are translators provided for parents who are in need of one during these meetings. Parents could try to learn more of what their child’s school offers to facilitate parent and teacher interactions, so that they can play an educational role at home as well. Latinos who recently immigrated to Georgia are often committed to hard work, so that they can receive a better life. However, due to this, there is less attention put on a child’s education. Children require a parent to encourage them, help them in any way that they can, and give them attention to increase their success. Taking these initiatives will greatly aid their child and keep them from feeling that they are facing their situation alone.

The dropout rate for Latinos across the United States in 2016 was at 8.6%, which can partly be attributed to having very little incentive to further their education. Students are often asked the question “are you going to college?”, which can be very frightening to think about. For Latino students, it is a question that offers a lot of insecurity because they know less about achieving higher education than their Caucasian counterparts. Most Latino students are immigrants or children of immigrants who left their origin country in which they most likely suffered hardships, so they were unable to attend college. Therefore, these children have to figure everything out on their own and are often introduced to various misconceptions that influence them to not further their education. Another problem is that many Latino’s feel discouraged about attending college due to only 8.5% of college students in Georgia being Hispanic, so it causes them to feel as if they do not belong. Influence at home also contributes to this issue because Latino parents often value working more than education because they did not experience a higher education themselves. Lastly, the cost of going to college can be very large, which is the biggest thought on the student’s minds when it comes to considering higher education. Latino students have to see their parents work in tough conditions, so they are most likely to quit their education after high school to keep them from putting more pressure on their parents to fund their education.

I believe that there can be a lot done to open more doors for students to receive a higher quality education. However, there are changes required in schools and at homes, to allow this to occur.

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Barreras Educativas de Georgia Para Estudiantes Latinos

Escrito Por: Rodrigo Ruiz-Tello

De los 1.8 millones de estudiantes que asisten a las escuelas de Georgia, los latinos representan el 16% de ellos, que es aproximadamente 288,000 estudiantes (Downey, 2018). Con los latinos formando una porción tan significativa de los estudiantes en Georgia, debería haber adaptaciones por los sistemas educativos de Georgia para ayudar mejor a estos estudiantes y sus familias. Sin embargo, no es así. Según el artículo Educational Barriers for New Latinos en Georgia, hay 6 temas principales que enfrentan los estudiantes latinos y sus familias: falta de comprensión del sistema escolar, baja participación de los padres, falta de estabilidad residencial, poco apoyo escolar, pocos incentivos para la continuación de la educación y el acceso de los inmigrantes a la educación superior (Bohon, et. al., 2009). Como estudiante latino, he enfrentado la mayoría de los problemas que fueron reconocidos por el artículo, y voy a discutir los tres temas que tuvieron el mayor impacto en mí. Los tres temas que voy a discutir son el apoyo limitado de las escuelas, la baja participación de los padres y pocos incentivos para continuar la educación.

La cantidad de latinos asistiendo a las escuelas de Georgia ha aumentado significativamente cada año, lo que puede atribuirse en parte a la inmigración. Suele suceder que estas familias recién llegadas a Georgia no pueden hablar español. Por lo tanto, sus hijos no pueden comprender la información que se les presenta en las escuelas. El estado de Georgia ofrece el programa Inglés como Segunda Lengua (ESL) para ayudar a los estudiantes que tienen un diferente lenguaje primario, sin embargo, el programa contiene sus defectos. Los condados que ofrecen el programa de ESL sólo tienen estudiantes asistiendo por un tiempo muy limitado, por lo general una hora o dos durante toda la semana. Debido a los períodos de tiempo entre su asistencia al programa, los estudiantes pueden ser incapaces de mantenerse al día con la información que se les presentó antes, lo que hace que el programa sea menos eficaz. Otro problema para los latinos en las escuelas es el rápido currículo que los instructores deben seguir para asegurar que toda la información se presente dentro del año escolar. Suele suceder que este currículum rápido deja atrás a los estudiantes latinos que todavía están desarrollando el idioma inglés. Los latinos de mayores edades también enfrentan este problema porque fueron sometidos a diferentes estándares educativos de su país de origen. Una solución que veo para estos problemas es que los sistemas escolares creen un plan de estudios para acomodar a los estudiantes con una barrera del idioma, e incorporar el programa de ESL como parte de su rutina escolar diaria.

La falta de apoyo no sólo es un problema en las escuelas de Georgia, sino también en nuestro hogar. Muchos padres latinos no participan en la educación de sus hijos, lo que en parte es causado por la barrera del idioma y su reciente llegada a los Estados Unidos. Las escuelas suelen ofrecer conferencias de maestros y otros eventos dirigidos a los padres, y el propósito de estos eventos es presentarlos mejor al entorno de aprendizaje de sus hijos, informarles de las necesidades de sus hijos, y ayudar a crear un papel educativo en casa para los padres. Sin embargo, debido a las diferencias en el idioma, muchos padres no suelen asistir a estas reuniones. Por lo tanto, impiden que el niño reciba ayuda en el hogar aparte de la escuela. A menudo, estos padres no saben que hay traductores para los padres que necesitan uno durante estas reuniones. Los padres podrían tratar de aprender más de lo que la escuela de su hijo ofrece para facilitar las interacciones entre padres y maestros, de modo que puedan jugar un papel educativo en casa también. Los latinos que recientemente emigraron a Georgia a menudo se comprometen a trabajar duro, para que puedan recibir una vida mejor, sin embargo, debido a esto, hay menos atención puesta en la educación de un niño. Los niños requieren que haya un padre que los anime, les ayude en todo lo que puedan y les preste atención para aumentar su éxito. Tomar estas iniciativas ayudará mucho a sus hijos y les impedirá sentir que están enfrentando su situación solos.

La tasa de abandono escolar de los latinos en los Estados Unidos en 2016 fue del 8.6%, lo que se puede atribuir en parte a tener un incentivo muy pequeño para continuar su educación. A los estudiantes a menudo se les hace la pregunta “¿vas a ir a la universidad?”, que puede ser una pregunta muy aterradora de pensar. Para los estudiantes latinos es una pregunta que ofrece mucha inseguridad porque saben menos acerca de lograr una educación superior que los ciudadanos estadounidenses. La mayoría de los estudiantes latinos son inmigrantes o hijos de inmigrantes que dejaron su país de origen en el que probablemente sufrieron dificultades, por lo que no pudieron asistir a la universidad. Por lo tanto, estos niños tienen que descubrirlo todo por sí mismos y a menudo se les presentan varios conceptos que los influyen para no continuar su educación. Otro problema es que muchos latinos se sienten desalentados por asistir a la universidad debido a que sólo el 8.5% de los estudiantes universitarios en Georgia son hispanos, por lo que les hace sentir que no pertenecen. La influencia en el hogar también contribuye a este problema porque los padres latinos a menudo valoran más el trabajo que la educación porque ellos mismos no tuvieron una educación superior. Por último, el costo de ir a la universidad puede ser muy grande, que es el pensamiento más grande en la mente del estudiante cuando se trata de considerar la educación superior. Los estudiantes latinos tienen que ver a sus padres trabajar en condiciones difíciles, por lo que es más probable que abandonen su educación después de la preparatoria para evitar que ejerzan más presión sobre sus padres para que financien su educación.

Creo que se puede hacer mucho para abrir más puertas para que los estudiantes Latinos reciban una educación más alta y de mayor calidad. Sin embargo, se requieren cambios en las escuelas y en los hogares para que esto ocurra.

Works Cited

Bohon, Stephanie A., et al. “Educational Barriers for New Latinos in Georgia.” Journal of Latinos and Education, vol. 4, no. 1, 13 Nov. 2009, pp. 43–58., doi:10.1207/s1532771xjle0401_4.

Downey, Maureen. “Limiting the Dreams of Latino Students Hurts Them and Georgia.” Ajc, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 13 Sept. 2018, www.ajc.com/blog/get-schooled/limiting-the-dreams-latino-students-hurts-them-and-georgia/M597wvIAC49Rw4sRNMbE0J/#:~:text=These%20data%20also%20reveal%20that,Georgia%20public%20schools%20are%20Latino.

“English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages-(ESOL)-and-Title-III   // .” Curriculum and Instruction, www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Curriculum-and-Instruction/Pages/English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages-(ESOL)-and-Title-III.aspx.

Stirgus, Eric. “Georgia College, Town Reflect Hispanic Growth and Prosperity.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 9 June 2018, apnews.com/article/171706da6d78412da8a37d0d8ce377b8. 

 

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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Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO’s CEO, honored and commended by the Georgia House of Representatives with HR305

Norcross, Georgia, March 10, 2021 – Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO, has been honored and commended by the Georgia House of Representatives with HR305.

The House Resolution 305 was led by Georgia State

Representatives Park Cannon of the 58th, Angelika Kausche of the 50th, Shelly Hutchinson of the 107th, Pedro Marin of the 96th, and Zulma Lopez of the 86th. It was read and adopted on March 3rd, along with other House Resolutions honoring other civic leaders promoting an engaged citizenry in our democracy.

Part of the House Resolution 305 reads in part:

WHEREAS, Jerry Gonzalez has long been recognized by the citizens of this state for the important role that he has played in leadership and his deep personal commitment to the welfare of the citizens of Georgia; and

WHEREAS, he has diligently and conscientiously devoted innumerable hours of his time,  talents, and energy toward the betterment of his community and state, as evidenced by his superlative service as the CEO of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials  (GALEO) and the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund (GLCDF)…

WHEREAS, he is a person of magnanimous strengths with an unimpeachable reputation for integrity, intelligence, fairness, and kindness; and

WHEREAS, Jerry has served with honor and distinction with GALEO, and his vision and

unyielding commitment to the empowerment of his fellow citizens have set the standard for civic service; and

WHEREAS, it is abundantly fitting and proper that the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of this remarkable and distinguished Georgian be appropriately recognized.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES that

the members of this body recognize and commend Jerry Gonzalez for his efficient, effective, unselfish, and dedicated service to the State of Georgia and extend the most sincere best wishes for continued health and happiness.

“On behalf of GALEO’s Board of Directors, we congratulate Jerry for being recognized and commended by the Georgia House of Representatives for his longstanding leadership and work on behalf of GALEO and the Latino community in Georgia generally. Georgia Latino voter turnout increased by more than 70% in 2020 compared to 2016, and it was partly due to GALEO’s work under Jerry’s leadership. We are proud of Jerry and excited about his continued leadership in our community. His recognition and commendation is well-deserved,” said Art Gambill, Chair of GALEO & the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund.

Read more online:

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/60276

Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO & the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund biography is online here:

https://galeo.org/jerry-gonzalez-galeo-executive-director/

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PRESS RELEASE: Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Announces Study: Civil Asset Forfeiture and its Impact on Communities of Color

Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Announces Study:

Civil Asset Forfeiture and its Impact on Communities of Color

PRESS RELEASE Contact: Melissa Wojnaroski

February 26, 2021 (202) 618-4158
mwojnaroski@usccr.gov

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The Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announces its forthcoming study of the impact of civil asset forfeiture on communities of color in the state. The Committee will convene a series of meetings during which they will hear public testimony regarding the extent to which civil asset forfeiture practices in Georgia may have a discriminatory impact on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

The first meeting will take place via web conference on Wednesday March 10, 2021 from 2-3:45 pm Eastern Time. The public may register for the event online (audio/visual), at: https://bit.ly/2YAYcm0. The public may also join the call by phone (audio only) at 800-360-9505; Access code 199 287 8225. Closed captions will be provided. Individuals requiring other accommodations should contact the regional program unit at (202) 618-4158 five business days prior to the meeting to make their request.

The agenda for this first panel of speakers includes:

  • Dan Alban, Senior Attorney, Institute of Justice
  • Marissa McCall Dodson, Public Policy Director, Southern Center for Human Rights
  • Leah Nelson, Research Director, Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
  • Cristopher Bellamy, Attorney, Neal & Harwell, PLC, Adjunct Professor, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Jon Guze, Director of Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation

The Committee will hear testimony from additional speakers to be scheduled throughout spring 2021. Members of the public will be invited to speak during an open comment period near the end of each meeting. The Committee will also accept written testimony submitted to mwojnaroski@usccr.gov throughout the duration of this project.

“Civil forfeiture allows police to seize, then keep or sell the property alleged to be involved in a crime. This practice allows many police departments to use forfeiture to benefit their bottom lines, which increases seizures motivated by profit rather than fighting crime,” said Committee Chair Chantel Mullen. “The owners of said property may not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for them to permanently lose their cash, cars, businesses, or even their homes. This is a civil rights issue of enormous concern that deserves deeper research and discussion on its impact on Georgians from already marginalized communities.”

The Georgia Advisory Committee will issue findings and recommendations in a report to the Commission after all testimony has been received.

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The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, established by the Civil Rights Act of 1957, is the only independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights and reporting annually on federal civil rights enforcement. Our 51 state Advisory Committees offer a broad perspective on civil rights concerns at state and local levels. For information about the Commission, please visit www.usccr.gov and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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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.

Read more