Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Continues Hearing Testimony on Civil Asset Forfeiture and its Impact on Communities of Color

The Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announces its third and fourth panels of speakers to provide testimony on the impact of civil asset forfeiture on communities of color in the state. The Committee is hosting a series of public meetings to gather testimony regarding the extent to which civil asset forfeiture in Georgia may have a discriminatory impact on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

The meetings will take place via web conference.

Panel III: Monday August 2, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern

·         Audio only dial: 800-360-9505; Access code: 199 979 8534

Panel IV: Wednesday August 4, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern

  • Register online (audio/visual):
  •  Audio only dial: 800-360-9505; Access code: 199 014 4101

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.

Members of the public will be invited to speak during an open comment period near the end of each meeting. The Committee will hear testimony from additional speakers to be scheduled through the fall of 2021 as necessary. The Committee will also accept written testimony submitted to throughout the duration of this project. Records from previous meetings on this topic, including recordings and meeting transcripts are available at:

“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.


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 and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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The Chavez Legacy

The Chavez Legacy

By Alba Villlarreal 

Julie Chavez Rodriguez is a civil rights activist who advocates for the inclusion of all marginalized folks. Her track record includes serving during the Obama Administration as the Director of Youth Employment and then as the Deputy Press Secretary for the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. She was recently appointed as the Director of White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs by Joe Biden in 2021.[1]

Before becoming one of the highest ranked Latinx officials at the White House, Rodriguez was known for her activist work supporting labor rights for farmworkers in California. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California- Berkeley, she worked as program director for the Cesar Chavez Foundation. On top of her many accomplishments and glass-shattering roles, she stands as the living legacy of her grandfather, Cesar Chavez.

Cesar Chavez is renowned as one of the leading activists for farmworkers’ rights. His fight brought positive change to thousands of farm workers in California and across the United States. A Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Chavez’s legacy is perfectly exemplified by the work of his children and grandchildren.

Chavez’s fight always centered the voices of the unheard and until his passing, he devoted his life to that struggle. His granddaughter now stands as a key player in the current fight for civil rights by directly working with the Biden administration and being regarded as one of the most influential Latinx women in the country.

The fight for civil rights and proper representation is ongoing and it is evident through the legacy of fighters such as Chavez that there have been true strides towards equality. Julie Chavez Rodriguez is one of many legacies that will pave the way for future Latinx leaders yet to come.

[1] “Cesar Chavez’s Legacy Is at Work in the White House.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2014,

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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Gentrification in Atlanta

Gentrification in Atlanta

By Alba Villarreal

Gentrification is when low-income neighborhoods experience negative change due to the moving in of more wealthy, affluent people. Wealthy people take over these areas and costs of living increase significantly, causing displacement and homelessness.

Gentrification can take several forms. It is more than a change in demographics, but a change in culture. Expensive housing such as apartment complexes are built on top of areas where generations of families used to be. Larger corporations buy out mom and pop shops and other local businesses. Gentrification is not only a huge concern for residents but also for families, businesses, and entire communities who are priced out of their lives.

Unfortunately, Atlanta is a prime example of gentrification. In the 1970s, gentrification began to slowly change the face of the city. It wasn’t until the 2000s, however, that it began displacing residents at an increasing rate. With growing population and economic prosperity, living in the city became more attractive, especially to younger, college-aged students. According to a report done on gentrification, Atlanta ranks fifth in the most gentrified cities in America.[1]

While affluent people are moving into Atlanta, locals are being pushed out and many become homeless. Atlanta’s gentrification combined with the inability to provide adequate, cheap housing for their homeless population creates a problem where approximately 2,000 people are forced to sleep in the streets every night.[2]

Gentrification is the culmination of economic, policy, and social issues but there are possible solutions that can ease its negative effects. Cities can provide public housing for their residents as well as protections for renters in low-income areas. [3]

Atlanta is growing and will continue to grow. Its residents deserve to be protected against negative effects of gentrification, otherwise, the culture and vibrancy that makes Atlanta special will disappear.


[1] Maciag, Michael. “Gentrification in America Report.” Governing, Governing, 17 Apr. 2021,

[2] “The Hidden Homeless: What You’re Not Seeing in the Statistics.” Atlanta Mission, 27 July 2020,

[3] “Gentrification Explained.” Gentrification Explained | Urban Displacement Project,

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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Mario Gonzalez and How Police Brutality affects Latinxs

Mario Gonzalez and How Police Brutality affects Latinxs

Photo Credit: Beth Laberge/KQED

By Nico Bernal

In the wake of the police murder of George Floyd, the United States saw massive

nation-wide protests calling for reform in the ways our criminal justice system works. The lack of accountability, lack of alternative services, and the lack of humanity displayed by police departments had pushed the black community and its allies to the edge. Millions marched in 2020 in the name of the thousands of unwilling black martyrs affected by police brutality. (1) Now, a year after Floyd’s death, many await the change we all desperately fought for. Some municipalities have implemented reform in the ways of reallocating resources towards alleviating the root causes of crime, adding stricter use-of-force policies, or providing de-escalation training for officers. Yet many more have either failed to make meaningful improvements or worse, have reinforced the systemic causes behind episodes of police abuse of power.(2)

Sadly, in a case echoing that of Floyd’s, the Latino community may have recently found its own martyr. Mario Gonzalez Arenales was a 26 year old Alameda man who died while under police custody on the morning of April 19th. That morning, officers responded to a report of a suspicious individual intoxicated at a local park. Talking to the man, the police eventually requested that he present his name and identification; Gonzalez failed to do so. In bodycam footage released by the Alameda Police Department, one can witness the tragic events that followed. The officers forcibly wrestled Gonzalez to the ground face down before one placed a knee on his back, holding him down. The next four minutes consist of Gonzalez pleading with the officers before losing consciousness. His last discernable words were “Please don’t do this.” At this point, the officers noticed his state of being and attempted CPR and application of Narcan. Mario Gonzalez was pronounced dead later in the hospital.

Despite the lack of media coverage, this type of deadly interaction isn’t as rare as one might think. A recent report released by UnidosUS estimates that over the past 6 years, more than 2,600 Latino deaths were recorded that were caused by police or in police custody.(5) As a percentage of total deaths at the hands of police, these numbers show a troubling disparity in how Latinos are affected. Out of every million , 4.2 Latinos are killed by police, compared to 2.3 per million for whites. Even worse, researchers note that the data ‘likely still undercount’ (6) the total victims either due to their race being mistakenly categorized as ‘white’, ‘other’, or ‘unknown’ or because the victims did not have surnames of Hispanic origin.This report is a wakeup call and should spurr us and our allies to take grand measures in the pursuit of justice.

Viewing this issue through an intersectional lens, it becomes clear how Afro-Latinos, triguenos, and individuals of mixed backgrounds could be further impacted by negative policing policies. Failures and biases are rarely clearly captured on film as they were in the case of CNN journalist Omar Jimenez. While covering the BLM protests in Minnesota in May 2020, Jimenez and his team were harassed and eventually arrested. This happened despite their compliance with orders, their media credentials being visible and valid, and cordiality in dealing with the officers. Afro-Latinos are very much ignored by society at large, and thus it becomes imperative that we shine a light on their specific issues.

Georgia Latinos, especially millennials and Gen-Zers, have come out in large numbers to show support for BLM. Racial justice and police brutality became a mainstream issue in the state after the extrajudicial killing of Ahmaud Arbery in February of last year. As we grow in numbers, we must demand that the government take special care when policing our community. Many crimes and abuses go unreported due to immigrant families fearing deportation which can lead to worsened conditions and even more fear of the police. This fear is not at all unfounded; many Sheriff’s Offices in the state subscribe to the 287(g) program which outlines cooperation with ICE to deport illegal immigrants once arrested. Recently, with the election of a new Sheriff, Gwinnett repealed the policy and promised to make further reforms to reduce harm on its growing population. (8) This is a huge deal seeing as over 48,000 American-born children in Georgia saw parents taken into ICE custody. The ripple effects are felt each and everyday not only by members of the Latino community but by all Georgians.

As a first-generation immigrant, I remember the struggles my family and I have faced on our journey to becoming American. If we want a better Gwinnett, a better Georgia, a better USA, it is crucial that we bring attention to these issues. We must advocate for accurate documentation of police abuse, we must decrease barriers to reporting crimes, and we must join our brothers and sisters of the Black Lives Matter movement in calling for racial justice reform at every level of government. Please join GALEO and other organizations in calling out great issues.


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  6. Photo Credit: Beth Laberge/KQED

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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Vaccine Equity in the Hispanic Community of Georgia  

Vaccine Equity in the Hispanic Community of Georgia  

By Alba Villarreal

Months after the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, there have been great efforts to vaccinate the majority of the U.S. population. While there are currently three COVID-19 vaccines now available, several Americans have yet to be vaccinated. The CDC has emphasized the importance of vaccine equity, but disproportionate vaccination rates continue to be an issue for marginalized communities. 

The Hispanic population, especially, is one of the least vaccinated in the country, despite making up a large proportion of total COVID-19 cases and deaths. Nationally, 17% of all Hispanics are currently vaccinated. This is significantly lower than their white counterparts, who make up 61%. 

Vaccination rates in Georgia show an even grimmer reality for the Hispanic community. Georgia continues to have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only 33.9% of its total population being fully vaccinated. Within that small margin of vaccinated individuals, only 8% are Hispanic. 

Agencies like the CDC have created programs that incentivize vaccination, but they fail to reach the Hispanic community. When this happens, it is up to the community to address issues that serve as deterrents to achieving a fully vaccinated Hispanic population. Examples of major issues include misinformation, lack of transportation, and language barriers. 

What can I do? a

  • Promote factual information about the vaccine and prevent the further spread of misinformation by correcting or reporting any false posts. 
  • Provide transportation for anyone who needs it or use rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft, who are currently offering free rides to vaccination sites. 
  • Volunteer at a local vaccination site to ensure that there are enough bilingual staffers. 

Widespread vaccine distribution, the lifting of mask mandates, and reopenings may have created the illusion of normalcy, but it does not deter from the disproportionate rates Hispanic populations are receiving the vaccine. The Hispanic community deserves to be reached and supported throughout an ongoing pandemic. The end cannot be reached until the community is helped.


Pham , Olivia, et al. “Latest Data on COVID-19 Vaccinations by Race/Ethnicity.” Kaiser Family Foundation , 16 June 2021, 

“GA DPH Vaccine Distribution Dashboard.” Georgia DPH , 14 June 2021,

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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Nuestro Arcoiris: The Intersection Between Latinx and LGBT+

Nuestro Arcoiris: The Intersection Between Latinx and LGBT+

By Nicolas Bernal

‘Queer latinidad’ is a recently coined term that is becoming more and more relevant in our diversified society. It describes a novel community whose components have many complementing and many contradicting characteristics. These include social conservatism, boisterous culture, sexual liberation, shared struggles and more.

The Latino LGBTQ community has a rich heritage of activism. The first openly gay candidate for public office in the U.S. was Jose Julio Sarria, who ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961. In New York, one of the people credited with starting the 1969 Stonewall Riots — which helped inspire the beginning of the LGBT rights movement — was Sylvia Rivera, a transgender Puerto Rican woman. In Los Angeles, Robbie Rodriguez, 38, program director for Equality California, said that the last several years have been challenging for Latinx LGBTQ people.

Family gender roles in Hispanic/Latino culture are sometimes considered to be defined by clear bright lines. Oftentimes, fathers and husbands hold power over the women in their lives; same-sex relationships disrupt the traditional role. This overt silence about sexuality may be nuanced; family identity and community are important to Hispanic/Latino families, which sometimes offer a support network despite the LGBT child’s disobedience against the nuclear family. Because Latino/a LGBT people experience greater racial discrimination in broader society, primary support can come from families where they are stigmatized yet still accepted.

In the U.S., Latino/a children who identify as LGBTQ face scrutiny from their community at home and in schools, especially within a high school or college preparation experience. While facing scrutiny from family and community to maintain gender normality to prosper in the U.S, they also face scrutiny from their peers, mentors and educational administrators. This scrutiny includes a lack of acceptance and recognition as a separate educational entity within sexual education programs provided by many high school education districts. Latinas are viewed as needing to have less interest in sexual education while Latinos are told to maintain focus and to take the education seriously. When teachers are prompted to explain sexual education for lesbians or gays, the teachers or educators assume the student body to be uniformly heterosexual and refuse or consider the questions immature and outside the scope of their teaching.

Gay Hispanic and Latino men report experiencing racism both within and outside the gay community. Latino gay men with dark skin color and indigenous features reported the greatest level of discrimination, including from the white gay community. Gay bars, for example, were spaces where Latinos and other people of color would face discrimination. This motivated the creation of the first and only Latino gay bar in the San Francisco Mission District in 1979, Esta Noche. Latina lesbians also report experiencing racism from the white LGBT community. Latin gays and lesbians have been engaged in autonomous organizing since the 1970s addressing issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia.

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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Common Cause, Fair Fight Action, and Over 300 Organizations Call on Corporations to Cut Ties with ALEC

Common Cause, Fair Fight Action, and Over 300 Organizations Call on Corporations to Cut Ties with ALEC

Media Contact

WASHINGTON — Today, Common Cause, Fair Fight Action, and over 300 organizations penned a letter demanding large corporations, including Anheuser-Busch, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, CenturyLink, Eli Lilly, UPS, FedEx, Oracle, State Farm, Raytheon, Salesforce, Pfizer and others, cut financial ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) over its support of voter suppression legislation throughout the country.

ALEC has used its power to draft and advance Jim Crow-style voter suppression legislation throughout the country. They have partnered with extreme, dark money groups like the Heritage Foundation to try to implement the most suppressive and dangerous pieces of voting legislation that our country has ever seen.

Now, these 300 voting rights organizations representing Americans all over the country are fighting back to ensure that ALEC is held accountable by the corporate donors who fund them. This is the first step of a sustained campaign to ensure that ALEC is held accountable and no longer receives the funding to try to subvert the will of the people and upend our democracy.


Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn issued the following statement:

“Instead of funding special interest groups that are creating barriers to our freedom to vote, corporations should be joining the movement to deliver the promise of democracy to everyone. That’s why we are joining more than 300 organizations to call on all corporations to cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is working behind the scenes to restrict voting rights. ALEC has a long history of rigging the rules against everyday Americans while skirting ethics and tax laws. If corporations really believe in protecting our democracy and the right to vote, they must end their affiliation with ALEC.”

Cliff Albright, executive director and co-founder of Black Voters Matter issued the following statement:

“We have repeatedly said that corporations must stop funding the elected officials who sponsor and vote for voter suppression, and this demand is equally important in regards to conservative groups and think tanks who fuel the Jim Crow-era approach of creating and replicating racist legislation. These companies cannot hide behind the excuse that they only support ALEC because of their pro-business legislation. Companies are complicit if they are creating a pro-business environment by supporting anti-democratic organizations and policies. We will continue to hold them accountable. It will not be business as usual until they stand up for what is right.”

Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal justice and democracy campaigns at Color Of Change issued the following statement:

“These corporations are targeting Black voters with increasingly aggressive campaigns to suppress votes, disenfranchise communities, and spread dangerous misinformation. Through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), dozens of corporations — many of whom pledged solidarity with Black workers and consumers just last year — are secretly funding efforts to silence Black voters. We see right through their hypocrisy, and we are issuing this letter to demand that these businesses take a stand for racial justice. It’s time that corporations put real action behind their promises to promote racial equity and immediately cut ties with ALEC.”

The following corporations will receive this letter: 1-800-Contacts, Alibaba, Alkermes, Altria, American Electric Power, Anheuser-Busch, Arizona Public Service, Bayer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, Chevron, Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated, Credit Union National Association, CTIA, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, EDP Renewables, Eli Lilly, Enova Internal, FedEx, First Solar, GlaxoSmithKline, Guarantee Trust Life Insurance, Koch Industries, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, National Automobile Dealers Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, Novartis, Oracle, Peabody Energy, Pfizer, PhRMA, Sanofi, Salt River Project, State Farm, Sunovion, UPS, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Vistra Energy.

According to the Brennan Center, over 389 bills that would suppress the right to vote have been introduced in 48 states during legislative sessions. 

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High School Grad Finally Receives Diploma Amidst Controversy

High School Grad Finally Receives Diploma Amidst Controversy

By Alba Villarreal

It’s graduation season and as students from all over the country are getting ready to walk the stage, many schools have implemented strict dress codes. While dress codes have always existed, students have pushed back against regulations that are rooted in racism. 

Ever Lopez stood against Asheboro High School when he was denied his diploma for violating dress code and wearing a Mexican flag during the ceremony. The situation went viral on Tik Tok, where videos show the school’s principal, Dr. Penny Crooks, attempting to remove the flag as he walked on the stage. The situation then escalated as security was called to escort him and his family out for demanding he receive his diploma. 

With over seven million views on Tik Tok, the videos forced the school to release a statement saying: 

The heart of the issue is the fact that the student did not follow the established dress code for the event and detracted from the importance and the solemnity of the ceremony.” 

However, Ever and his supporters claim that other students also violated dress code by decorating their caps yet still received their diploma. Ever and his family claim that the issue had more to do with racism than the dress code violation. Community organizers gathered together to protest the school’s decision and also created a petition on 

100,000 signatures later, Ever finally received his diploma. On Monday, June 7th, he walked outside his school and showcased it in front of his community during a press conference and dedicated it to his parents. Ever said. “I’m grateful that I got what I deserved. Like my mom said, it’s not just mine, it’s everybody’s, the whole community that was with me, that had my back and it really means a lot.” 

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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June 10th, 2021

Erik Francisco Medina

Communications Manager






ATLANTA, GA – On June 10th, 2021, GALEO and the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund published the fourth report highlighting the 2020 growth and engagement of the Latino voters in Georgia. In partnership with NALEO Educational Fund and the Department of Political Science of the University of Georgia, GALEO unveiled the most comprehensive Latino electorate analysis in Georgia during the 2020 election cycle and the rapid growth of the Latino-Hispanic electorate in the state.

Check the report here: GLV 2020 Report

In the 2020 election cycle, the Latino electorate in the state of Georgia continued to grow with significant impact. This report’s analysis showcases that the Latino electorate became more politically and civically conscious. Georgia’s electoral results indicate this development. Based upon the statewide voter data file and the analysis on this report from March 5th, 2021, the Latino electorate now has 385,185 registered voters, representing 4.1% of Georgia’s total voters.

The Latino electorate grew by 140,995 new voters since the 2016 report, presenting a growth rate of 57.7%. On a national level, the Latino vote increased by 6 million voters since the 2016 election cycle, approaching a record number of 18.7 million voters in 2020. Reportedly, one in 10 voters was Latino in 2020. Additionally, younger Latinos ages 18 to 40, with about 2.4 million voters, were first-time and newly registered voters. The Latina vote was vital in many battleground states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Georgia.

The electorate in Georgia is evolving swiftly, and the Latino community is an indispensable part of the electorate that should be targeted, respected, and cultivated by all political parties in the state.  As the Latino community increases in numbers and force, elected officials and candidates should pay Georgia’s critical demographic attention.

GALEO is a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, founded in 2003. 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

Our report in the media:

Georgia’s Latino electorate grows in power, report shows via @11AliveNews #gapol #iamGALEO


The Jolt: GOP support could boost Kasim Reed’s comeback in Atlanta mayor’s race


Report shows growth of Latino vote in Georgia

El Nuevo Georgia


Conexión Fin De Semana | Univision Atlanta

Entrevista sobre el Voto Latino en Georgia en Conexión Fin De Semana

WABE A Closer Look with Rose Scott | NPR

New Report Outlines Latino Voter Engagement; Atlanta Moves Toward Revamping Parking Spaces To Outdoor Seating Areas | 90.1 FM WABE



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June 9, 2021


Karuna Ramachandran

404.585.8446 x 106

ATLANTA, GA —  Both Georgia’s Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee and its House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee have announced that they will have a joint meeting on Tuesday, June 15, at 5:00 p.m. in Room 341 CAP, officially launching the state’s redistricting process. According to the announcement, the meeting will be available to the public via livestream.

While Georgians can sign up to provide comments at the meeting, the redistricting committees have failed to respond to advocates’ requests for transparency in the map drawing and approval process. Notably, the committees have not provided access to draft maps for public input, and there are still fundamental language access gaps, making it harder for residents who do not speak English or use English as their first language to participate in the process. In light of some of these challenges, members of the Georgia Redistricting Alliance are adamant that additional steps be taken to improve access to this process.

“Georgians are able to give input at the town halls planned by the joint redistricting committees of the Georgia Legislature,” said Helen Butler, Executive Director of Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “However it is unclear what the redistricting committees will do with the input they receive at these town halls. It is also unclear whether or not Georgians will have any opportunity to review mapping proposals before they are voted on by legislators. This is entirely unacceptable and we demand details about the actual process of redrawing district lines in Georgia.”

Gigi Pedraza, Executive Director of Latino Community Fund, Georgia agreed, noting that, “Redistricting is far too important to be conducted behind closed doors. These public town halls appear to be an attempt to check a box for public accountability without having a meaningful impact on the process. We cannot afford to be left out of this process that will impact our lives over the next 10 years.”

Advocates are on high alert in light of the challenging election season Georgians experienced during the General and U.S. Senate runoff elections. LaVita Tuff, Policy Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta emphasized that, “the last year of elections has proved that Georgians want to be actively engaged in the political process. The Georgia legislature‘s proposed town halls, with their ‘English-only’ policies, are by no means accessible or inclusive. We demand that the redistricting process incorporates meaningful language access, so that all Georgians can participate.”

Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of Georgia Association for Latino Elected Officials also noted, “the Georgia legislature is holding public town halls across the state. However Georgians have received no concrete information about the redistricting special session that is rumored to be held this year. How can Georgians effectively give input on a process for which they do not have the full details? We demand and expect more meaningful integration of our community’s input.”

“Voters showed that they want to be engaged in the democratic process by turning out in record numbers in 2020 and early 2021,” said John Moye, Director – Policy & Legislative Affairs, Urban League of Greater Georgia. “In follow up interviews, our constituents said they selected candidates they believed would stand up for their families, values, needs, priorities, and justice. Clearly, voters want their voices heard, and redistricting will either amplify or silence their voices. We must allow citizen input as redistricting decisions are made.”

Wan R. Smith, Organizing Director of Georgia Conservation Voters stated, “We are not fooled by performance politics. The Georgia legislature’s public town halls are futile because without insight to the redistricting process and draft maps citizens will not be able to ask the right questions, provide meaningful feedback or make recommendations.”

Jewel Howard, Lead Organizer of 9to5, National Organization for Working Women stated, “Transparency in the map drawing and approval process is a way to make sure the plans are fair and provide communities with the full representation that every Georgia resident deserves.”

Phyllis Richardson, Governmental Affairs Director, Georgia WAND Education Fund stated, “The purpose of redistricting or redrawing the lines based on the information received from the census is designed to benefit the people and the communities they live in.  So, Georgia Legislators, how can you have a process that affects the resources, finances and green space of a community or have fair representation if the people of the community do not have a seat or place at the table of decisions? Therefore, the residents of Georgia deserve to have the right to participate in the redistricting process and the viewing of maps prior to any decision being made.”

April England-Albright, Legal Director of Black Voters Matter Fund, stated, “ In light of the opaque and  sometimes deceptive process that was recently used by the Georgia legislature to pass of one of the country’s most restrictive voter suppression bills, transparency throughout the redistricting process is more important than ever.  Hosting public town halls, without access to the draft maps for public input, does not equal transparency.  We demand that the redistricting committees fully disclose the redistricting process to all Georgians, and it should be communicated in ways accessible to all communities.

“Georgians deserve, and are entitled to, a fair and transparent redistricting process,” said Susannah Scott, president of the League of Women Voters of Georgia. “Without proposed draft maps for the public to provide input on, or a clear process for how the comments shared in the upcoming town halls will be utilized, there is no real transparency for Georgians. Without transparency, there is no guarantee of a fair process. The Georgia legislature can and must do better for the citizens it serves.”

Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia, said:

“Common Cause Georgia urges our legislators to go beyond a ‘road show’ series of hearings, and to craft a process that truly empowers peoples’ voices to be heard. Redistricting should be about fairness and ensuring that all of us can have a voice in the decisions that affect our lives. Now, it is even more critical to be transparent and inclusive to bring Georgians together.”

Kayla Kane, Data and Research Analyst at Southern Poverty Law Center, stated:

“By their record turnout in recent elections, Georgia voters have shown that they want to be involved in the political process. However, the Georgia legislature’s lack of transparency on the timing of these redistricting town halls have made it nearly impossible for the average voter to follow the process. A fair districting process that represents communities equitably requires transparency so that politicians aren’t choosing their voters behind closed doors. Georgia residents deserve an open and fully transparent process. Anything less than full transparency quickens Georgia’s move away from a democracy that works for everyone.”

“We are committed to ensuring that community members understand they are constituents of the elected officials, and elected officials should work to represent the interests of their constituents,” said Deborah Scott, Executive Director for Georgia STAND-UP. “Drawing fair and equitable districts is necessary for equitable distribution of resources and representation. Georgia Stand-Up is committed to work with communities and our coalition partners to ensure fair elections that support.”


The Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) is a coalition of organizations who believe that queer/trans BIPOC community should be at the forefront of the fight to protect our voting power and are preparing OUR communities to lead redistricting in 2021 and 2022. To learn more about GRA and our member organizations, please visit

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