By:  Carrie L. Williams
S.E. Region News

Within hours of Georgia U.S. Senate Candidate Al Bartell's public statement on justice regarding the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham(R-SC), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary announced that his panel would hold a hearing on police use of force, after the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.  On Monday, June 1, 2020, Sen. Graham communicated the hearing will start June 16, 2020.  

Bartell's response:  "Currently, there is nothing reliable in place for a collaborative public policy approach to a broken system that kills our men, and a broken police department that dis-empowers our neighborhoods ."

Advocacy America -- a team of leaders committed to sustainable, collaborative community and public engagement -- has a response as well.

"We are ready -- this is the work we're known for and that we've been doing with communities," affirms Advocacy America President Carrie Williams. "We've been involved in innovative community-grounded engagement events.  We have worked with community leaders and law enforcement, as far back as 2015, in pilot models for reliable engagement.  

"We've supported community leaders in having their data be included in the decision-making process of municipal, county, state and federal governance, as it pertains to community-policing relations and violence prevention.  We're ready to take that experience and bring it not just to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, but to any U.S. Senate Committee -- especially as we embark on the five-year plan of the  Stimulus Recovery Initiative."

As a certified mediator in the area of public policy management, Bartell has interacted with law enforcement in communities over the past 40 years. That work includes violence prevention initiatives in Goldsboro, NC, Washington, D.C. -- and over the past 20 years, in Atlanta and the state of Georgia.  Bartell can point to measurable results -- among young black men, gangs, black communities -- through lowered rates/incidence of violence.

That kind of public policy work, particularly over the past five years, has had Bartell emphasizing the imperative for a collaborative public policy approach -- through reliable public engagement.  

As a U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia's 2020 special election, Bartell warns that the United States has entered into an even more critical stage -- a stage in which existing institutions will no longer be enough to move America forward:

"The COVID-19 pandemic, the economic crisis in our country -- and now the massive nationwide protests and destruction from the tragic, unjust deaths of two more black men -- have exacerbated the fissures and gaps, disparities and discrepancies that have crumbled existing structures of institutions in America."

Bartell emphasizes, "We must come together and invent new, collaborative strategies and structures that can lay the foundation for the future of America in the 21st century."

"It has been forty years of public policy service," Bartell reflects. "I didn't realize it back then, but I was stepping into the future of ushering in leadership for violence prevention --  in the current situation of violence in America."

Arguably one of Georgia's most impactful independent public policy leaders, U.S. Senate Candidate Al Bartell says he is committed to furthering the efforts and approach of consensus-building established by Sen. Isakson, and " restore balance in the public policy power of the U.S. Senate for all Georgians, across party lines."

Advocacy America is committed to partnering with public policy leaders like Bartell to bring that kind of collaborative public policy into existence, affirms President Williams:

"This is the work Advocacy America is excited about -- and committed to bringing to its growing relationships with the United States Senate committees and subcommittees.  We are hard at work to bring input to the June 16th hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary -- and for any hearings that follow.  

"We thank the Chairman and the staff of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee for their immediate response to our Economic Impact Synopsis. We look forward to interacting with Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham and Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the coming days ahead."