Other Group

Georgia Youth Justice Coalition

Website:

https://linktr.ee/younggajustice

Formation:

2020

Type:

Voter Access Advocacy Group

Georgia Youth Justice Coalition (GYJC) is a left-of-center student-run advocacy group originating on campus at the Georgia Institute of Technology which arose in 2020 to challenge alleged attempts by Republicans to reduce voter access. The group officially formed in January 2021. [1]

As of November 2021, the GYJC has trained at least 70 students as young as 13 to engage in activism, and many students have testified in the Georgia legislature. GYJC has expanded its scope beyond voter access into advocating for a higher minimum wage, vaccine access, rent control, and attending Black Lives Matter rallies. [2]

GYJC is a member of the Georgia Grassroots Education network. [3]

Founding

Georgia Youth Justice Coalition was founded informally in the summer of 2020 by a group of student-activists at the Georgia Institute of Technology who were volunteering for local political groups. They organized 200 student activists in 27 State House and Senate races. During the U.S. Senate runoff elections in January 2021, the group rallied 300 student activists to “fight voter suppression bills.” It has continued to expand its operations since then into broader left-wing activism. [4]

Campaigns

Georgia Youth Justice Coalition lobbied against the Election Integrity Act of 2021, a sweeping electoral reform which proposed to tighten restrictions on mail-in ballots, expand early voting access, and permit earlier vote counting, among other changes. [5]

GYJC successfully fought against Georgia State Senator Clint Dixon’s (R-Buford) proposal to nearly double the number of seats on Gwinnett County’s board. [6] GYJC claims that Sen. Dixon’s proposal was an attempt to disenfranchise black voters who tend to support Democrats, calling it “another instance of racist backlash against diversity and inclusion in this county.” [7]

GYJC was part of the Freedom Ride for Voting Rights, a Black Lives Matter campaign for increased voting access run by the Black Voters Matter Fund. [8]

On November 1, 2021, GYJC announced its opposition to alleged gerrymandering in Georgia’s federal redistricting process. The group is particularly concerned by the potential segmentation of universities between multiple districts, thereby supposedly reducing the value of student votes. [9]

Students Against Sonny

In spring 2021, GYJC launched Students Against Sonny, a campaign against former Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue (R-GA) who was under consideration to be appointed chancellor of the board of regents of the University System of Georgia. GYJC argued that Purdue was unfit for the role due to his education record as governor, which included spending cuts to elementary and high schools, tying teacher pay to test performance, and the firing of numerous teachers due to ethics violations. By May, a petition launched by Students Against Sonny reached 1,500 signatures. Purdue was ultimately not nominated for the chancellorship. [10] [11] [12]

Leadership

Alex Ames, an undergraduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the director of advocacy communications of the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition according to her LinkedIn profile. [13] A July 2021 article identifies her as the head of the organization, [14] and a November 2021 article refers to her as a co-founder. [15] She previously served as GYJC’s director of organizing and director of legislative accountability. During and before her work with GYJC, Ames worked at the Georgia House Democratic Caucus, the College Democrats of Georgia, the Democratic Party of Georgia, the U.S. Senatorial campaign of U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Swing Left. [16]

References

  1. Timm, Jane C. “Georgia teens become unlikely warriors in redistricting fight.” NBC News. November 25, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/georgia-teens-become-unlikely-warriors-redistricting-fight-n1284351. ^
  2. “Georgia Youth Coalition: About Us.” Google Docs. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1n7xq2wICtDuIBi79kOPQg5uZLNdubZCaB1ceBeuP8uQ/edit. ^
  3. [1] “Georgia Grassroots Education Network.” Network for Public Education. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://networkforpubliceducation.org/georgia-grassroots-network/. ^
  4. “Georgia Youth Coalition: About Us.” Google Docs. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1n7xq2wICtDuIBi79kOPQg5uZLNdubZCaB1ceBeuP8uQ/edit. ^
  5. [1] Timm, Jane C. “Georgia teens become unlikely warriors in redistricting fight.” NBC News. November 25, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/georgia-teens-become-unlikely-warriors-redistricting-fight-n1284351. ^
  6. Murphy, Patricia; Bluestein, Greg; Mitchell, Tia. “The Jolt: Lawsuits swirling for Georgia’s redrawn districts.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. November 29, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.ajc.com/politics/politics-blog/the-jolt-lawsuits-swirling-for-georgias-redrawn-districts/PAJGHXHX3FAXTKKZCOPP5GLVGU/. ^
  7. “GYJC Press Statement Regarding Gwinnett Representation Undermined Via SB 5EX and SB 6EX.” The Los Angeles Post. November 11, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://lapost.us/?p=42173. ^
  8. “Freedom Ride for Voting Rights.” Black Voters Matter Fund. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://blackvotersmatterfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/June-Newsletter-2021.pdf. ^
  9. “GYJC Press Statement Regarding Campus Gerrymandering.” Google Docs. November 1, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dI45oxvfXN7r1bBgFfxCWSRCLfpJOu2K-ccPC_FxGi4/edit. ^
  10. Brooks, Keegan. “Sonny Perdue is Not the Right Choice to Lead the USG.” The Blue and Gold. June 8, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://chambleeblueandgold.com/9812/opinion/sonny-perdue-is-not-the-right-choice-to-lead-the-usg/. ^
  11. “Sonny Purdue.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/government-politics/sonny-perdue-b-1946. ^
  12. Martin, Kara. “Students and staff oppose Sonny Purdue as potential USG Chancellor.” Georgia State Signal. April 20, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://georgiastatesignal.com/students-and-staff-oppose-sonny-perdue-as-potential-usg-chancellor/. ^
  13. “Alex Ames.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-ames/. ^
  14. Fowler, Stephen. “After Record Turnout, Youth Activists Turn Energy to 2021 Redistricting.” Wbur. July 13, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.wbur.org/npr/1015082704/with-record-2020-turnout-youth-activists-turn-their-energy-to-2021-redistricting. ^
  15. Timm, Jane C. “Georgia teens become unlikely warriors in redistricting fight.” NBC News. November 25, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/georgia-teens-become-unlikely-warriors-redistricting-fight-n1284351. ^
  16. “Alex Ames.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-ames/. ^
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