We advocate for our community’s priorities both through working with our legislators in Georgia and through grassroots methods within the communities themselves.
Powered by legislative and grassroots advocacy, we’re working alongside our members to address the following key issues.
Right now, it doesn’t matter if you have completed all of your schooling in Georgia and graduate at the top of your class if you’ve been granted Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or are undocumented. You may be denied in-state tuition, charged three times as much, or even be banned from attending.
Our economy needs more qualified, smart workers and professionals, and our students need to have access to higher education so that they can continue to contribute to our country and state. We have already spent millions of dollars on access to K-12 education. Granting in-state college tuition and improving access to higher education for all Georgia residents makes fiscal sense.
People that live and work in Georgia should be able to study for and take a driver’s test, purchase car insurance, and get a drivers’ license. However, undocumented people living in Georgia cannot drive because they cannot purchase insurance, and therefore, cannot buy or lease a vehicle or get a drivers’ license.
Without an extensive network of public transportation, families, workers, and individuals can’t go to church, attend school events or even get to the hospital if needed. Or, they are forced to drive without a license or insurance to do so. Granting undocumented people the ability to apply for drivers’ licenses and purchase insurance will help to make us all safer.
Georgia is an English-only state, meaning official documents are only in English. However, our two top trade partners are China and Mexico. Further, the Federal Civil Rights Act notes that language access is mandatory to ensure people understand what is being said in courts, hospitals, and at the voting booth.
We believe strongly that offering information in all of the languages widely spoken in Georgia will lead to more engaged and diverse communities. This will be reflected in stronger civic participation.
Georgia is the only state that requires that business licenses are given only to legal residents or citizens. This is a huge barrier for entrepreneurs and business owners interested in opening or growing businesses in Georgia. This short-sighted policy also limits taxes, as well as other ways people want to contribute and become self-sufficient in our state.
We believe entrepreneurship is a self-sufficiency and wealth-building strategy and should be available to all.
Currently, over 140,000 English learners in Georgia are not receiving a quality education. While the graduation rate has improved in general, English Learners are 20 points below the state average (83% vs. 66%).
We don’t have a comprehensive language access policy in Georgia. If you consider that over 90% of English learners are American citizens that happen to speak a language at home that is not English, this is a discrimination and equity issue.
Disaster relief, recovery and investments need to include all people that live and work in Georgia. Vaccines, tests and treatment must be available to all.
Services and programs need to:
- Incorporate language access
- Consider those with different abilities
- Consider those unable to drive or access reliable transportation
- Be inclusive of various documentation statuses, expanding the definition of what accepted identification is and ensuring that people know their rights
Our advocacy work and key focus areas are closely tied to our work to encourage and promote civic participation throughout Latinx communities in Georgia.
Partners in Advocacy
Our members include organizations that advocate both at the grassroots and legislative levels. Together, we work to keep communities knowledgeable about what’s going on in our state and elected officials accountable to the communities that they serve.
Currently, our work with the Georgia Immigrant and Refugee Alliance is especially focused on these efforts.
The Importance of Grassroots Organizations
Latinx grassroots organizations are critical to the development of local communities at the front-lines of civil rights protections, but also as vehicles for local workforce and leadership development. However, these organizations remain underfunded by philanthropic organizations.
Our 2018 report details why Latino-led and Latino-serving grassroots organizations are critical to Georgia’s future. It’s based on 12 years of observation of the nonprofit and funding communities in Atlanta, a 2017 survey of 45 Latinx-serving organizations, and data from the Foundation Center.