Street Certified, New Georgia Project Launch Effort to Register Formerly Incarcerated Georgians to Vote Ahead of Senate Runoff
Led by formerly incarcerated activists, the partnership aims to activate 4.2 million returning citizens in the state who are eligible to vote
ATLANTA – Ahead of the Georgia Senate runoff, Street Certified and New Georgia Project announced they are partnering to mobilize over 4.2 million returning citizens in the state to vote and wield their power in January’s consequential election.
Formerly incarcerated citizens have long been shut out from the democratic process, whether through unjust laws, institutional barriers, or social stigma. In Georgia, however, the vast majority of returning citizens have the legal right to vote, but historically have not been engaged in a meaningful way by campaigns or other organizations. Street Certified is working to change that.
“Formerly incarcerated people should have a voice in the decisions that affect them. But all too often shame, embarrassment, and negative connotations of having a criminal record hinder formerly incarcerated people from engaging in civic duties such as voting, said Marlon Chamberlain, an organizer with Street Certified. “Ahead of a critical election, our campaign hopes to encourage formerly incarcerated people to get out to vote. Long term, we aim to shift public attitudes away from narratives that criminalize and dehumanize people who have been impacted by the legal system, toward attitudes that prioritize the dignity of returning citizens and honor the expertise of directly impacted communities. Together, our quality of life and prosperity depend on how we work together and support each other.”
Formerly incarcerated people contribute significantly to the Georgia economy, both as consumers and taxpayers — however, voter suppression and intentional disengagement has left millions of Georgians with past convictions without political power or proper representation to influence policy that affects them.
“I’m a convicted felon and I vote. My vote is my voice and my voice is my power,” said Pamela Wynn, founder of RestoreHer US.America. “Uplifting equality and power to people is why I do this work.”
“I caught a charge but I still have a voice. And it’s the voices of those who are directly impacted that should be the loudest in the movement when it comes to issues that impact us,” added Charlotte Garnes, executive director ReNForce.
New Georgia Project has continued to be a key player in voter registration and mobilization efforts for Black and Brown communities. In this effort, they are partnering with Street Certified, a coalition of formerly incarcerated leaders across the LIVE FREE network that supports a pipeline of development and well-being for returning citizens across the country and works to pass policies that end mass incarceration in America. The coalition operates under the principle that those who are closest to the pain have the most to teach us about how to bring about liberation for all. This includes ensuring they have a voice in the political system.
To learn more about the effort or speak with an organizer, contact Manisha Sunil at (202) 417-0171 and firstname.lastname@example.org or Heather Cabral at (202) 550-6880 and email@example.com.
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