I struggle to find the words to talk about the tumult facing our community right now. I am so proud of Atlanta’s Chief of Police, Erika Shields, and her determination to listen to peaceful protestors and manage the APD response. I am saddened by the increased use of force as protests continue and fear sometimes overrides understanding. I’m grateful for the leadership of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, particularly for her message to the city on May 29. My heart breaks for my friends and neighbors who own businesses and property that were harmed during the destructive looting over the weekend. Most of all, my heart and soul ache for the Black members of our community – I cannot begin to understand the anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, and frustration that come from generations of oppression and disenfranchisement. I can only pledge to work to make things better.
It feels like our world is on fire. I want to share two thoughts with you. The first is about what I can do as your elected representative. The next is about what you can do as a concerned citizen in our community.
First, my colleagues in the Georgia General Assembly have been pulling together real, concrete ideas about how we can affect change at a policy level. We can reform the state’s so-called Stand your Ground laws to prevent the sort of vigilante justice that took the life of Ahmaud Arbery. We can repeal the state’s outdated citizens’ arrest law that contributes to the type of vigilante mindsight that led to Mr. Arbery’s murder, but also contributes to other attacks on our neighbors because of unconscious bias or fears. We can change the statute that treats crimes committed by police officers differently in grand jury settings. And we can continue to support real criminal justice reform designed to keep our communities safe while preventing the unnecessary incarceration of people based on class or race. An underlying component of this is doing everything we can to maintain adequate funding for schools, healthcare, public safety, and workforce development, even in a time of economic crisis.
Next, I wanted to share some resources for you. If you are feeling helpless and overwhelmed, I understand – I feel it, too. Here are a few things that might help:
- VOTE. Vote in the June 9 primary (see details below). Make a plan to vote in November. And, in between, think about how you can support candidates who reflect your desire for change and betterment in our community. In the coming weeks, we’ll share how to help this campaign if that’s where you’d like to put your energy!
- LISTEN & LEARN. Two books that consistently rise to the top of recommended reading lists are White Fragility by Robin Deangelo and So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Otuo. If you are a parent or have young people in your life, this is a great resource for books for children and teens that address racism. For even more resources, including podcasts and articles, I recommend this document.
- GET ENGAGED. Find an organization that promotes social justice and stay engaged with them. A few ideas include the Atlanta-based National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights. Outstanding national groups include Color of Change, National Action Network, National Urban League, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Equal Justice Initiative.
I am proud to endorse Fani Willis for Fulton County District Attorney in the June 9th primary. She has a deep understanding of how the criminal justice system works, and knows how to keep violent criminals off the street while respecting the rights of everyone else. She has my vote and my endorsement!
Vote by Mail Updates & Resources
The primary election is on June 9th, 2020. Early voting is underway, and ends on Friday, June 5th.
Did you request an absentee ballot and never receive it? It might have gone missing! Here are your options:
1) Request another absentee ballot (it’s not too late!): https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Elections/absentee_voting_in_georgia
2) Early vote in person or on June 9th! The Fulton County early voting location in our district is at the Garden Hills Elementary Gymnasium (285 Sheridan Drive 30305). You will need to inform your poll worker that you have not received your absentee ballot, sign an affidavit stating that you have not voted already, and then you will be allowed to vote. If you encounter any problems, please call the Voter Protection Hotline at 1-888-730-5816.
The AJC is reporting that there’s no way of knowing how many ballots may have been missed, but that Fulton County cleared its backlog as of last Tuesday.
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the state of Georgia, as of 7 pm, June 1, 2020. There have been 47,899 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 2,089 deaths. In the past week (Sunday – Sunday), we have added 4148 cases (+9.7% increase). In the past week, we have added 250 deaths (+12% increase).
The Fulton County Board of Health tracks the number of COVID-19 cases by zipcode. Their latest update is from May 29, 2020. These are the statistics for confirmed COVID-19 cases for the zip codes located within District 54:
If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.
As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-656-0116 with questions, concerns, or solutions you may have regarding legislation or other happenings in District 54.
To stay updated, follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and follow the Georgia House of Representatives @GAHouseHub on Twitter. Additionally, in-depth information regarding current bills, Georgia’s annual and supplemental budgets, committee meetings, and livestreams from the General Assembly can be accessed via www.legis.ga.gov.
When this is all over, I encourage you and your family to visit our State Capitol and my office, where all constituents are welcome. I look forward to connecting with you!
My office is located at:
18 Capitol Square, SW
409-B, Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.
Representative Betsy Holland
GA House District 54