November 2020
The Greatness of a Community: FY20 In Review

Hot off the (digital) presses, our FY20 Annual Report, "The Greatness of a Community" is now available online. Inspired by the Coretta Scott King quote "The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members," this report highlights the many ways the people in our community have stepped up to increase justice in Georgia during our last fiscal year.

We're incredibly proud and grateful for the the support we received this year and the work we were able to accomplish. We hope you find inspiration as you read about our work and community outreach in this annual report.
Voting Matters: Register for Runoffs by December 7

This election season, Georgia Appleseed offered the 2020 How to Vote Guide to help voters access voting resources and answers to their election questions. Now our 2021 Georgia Runoff Guide is reminding voters that their job isn’t quite done! Georgia has federal runoff elections on January 5. Check to see if you’re registered and, if not, register online through December 7. You can also request an absentee ballot here. Early in-person voting begins December 14.
Building Capacity for Youth in Care

On October 20, 2020, Georgia Appleseed facilitated the inaugural “Advocating for Yourself in School” training for youth in foster care. The training provided youth in care and youth recently aged out of care with tools and strategies necessary to advocate for themselves in both virtual and in-person school settings.

Led by Lashawnda Woods-Roberts (Georgia Appleseed Staff Attorney), KyMara Guidry (Georgia Appleseed Equal Justice Works Fellow), and Dr. Josette Franklin (EPAC Education Quality Specialist), participants shared how the global pandemic affects schooling and how youth adjusted their routines in response. The training was held at the monthly gathering of the leadership program at Georgia EmpowerMEnt, a program under the Multi-Agency Alliance for Children (MAAC) which empowers Georgia’s foster youth.
Tribunal Representation Training Rescheduled: December 11, 2020

We have rescheduled our October 30 Tribunal Representation Training to December 11, 2020, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Those who registered previously are automatically registered for the new date. If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here:
Appleseed Champion: Judge Herbert E. Phipps

Former Georgia Appleseed Board member Judge Herbert E. Phipps was recently featured in the Georgia Bar Journal article, “Judge Herbert E. Phipps: Fighting the Same Battles.” The article follows his inspiring path from his 1960s involvement in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to Georgia civil rights attorney and the Court of Appeals of Georgia. Judge Phipps retired from the bench in 2016.

“We can’t wait for hearts and minds to change. We just want behavior to change,” says Judge Phipps in the piece. “I’ve seen nothing work in my lifetime except agitation, litigation, and legislation.” Georgia Appleseed is grateful to have had such a champion on its Board of Directors and continues to build on his legacy. Read more.
Georgia Healthy Housing Coalition: January 5

If your organization is committed to strengthening healthy housing access, we invite you to join the Georgia Healthy Housing Coalition, which engages organizations across the state to share, support, and develop efforts to enhance and expand healthy housing.

To join the coalition for bimonthly meetings, fill out the online Healthy Housing Project interest form.

We meet next on January 5, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. 
GAgives is Next Week!

After giving thanks with family and friends later this week—whether in-person or virtually—GAgives Day gives us the chance to give back to the greater community. GAgives is Georgia’s take on Giving Tuesday, which takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and encourages people to take a day to appreciate the good work being done in the world and to give back.

Join us on December 1, 2020, and support Georgia Appleseed on this year’s GAgives Day!

Georgia Appleseed Needs Your Pro Bono Support

At Georgia Appleseed, we focus on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and advocating for healthy housing because we believe these areas are powerful leverage points for meaningful, systemic change.

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please fill out our pro bono interest form
Message of Gratitude from the Executive Director

Thank you all for your generous support over the last year. Your donations of time and money directly impact Georgia’s children. Because of you, thousands of Georgia’s children have a brighter future, including the opportunity to thrive in supportive schools and healthy homes.
Our Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline project is a wonderful example of how your support changes lives. This year Georgia Appleseed trained more than 3,000 lawyers, social workers, educators, and others to advocate for children in school and at home. In addition, we brought hundreds more together in local collaborations that helped schools and court systems keep children in school and out of juvenile court. These trainings, regional convenings, coalition meetings, forums, listening sessions, and our policy recommendations have had tremendous impact. For example, our efforts in Dougherty, Bibb, and Richmond counties helped reduce county-wide discipline rates and improve educational outcomes for some 53,264 children this year. In Fulton County, our work with the juvenile court led to a three-year decline in the number of children in court for school-related offenses. Statewide, our Georgia Education Climate Coalition is a critical driver of the state’s adoption of discipline policies that significantly reduced out-of-school suspension/expulsion rates for all children. In the 2019 school year, Georgia schools suspended or expelled 15,500 fewer children than they did in 2011, even as the student population increased.
These reforms are particularly important to roughly 1 million school children that the Department of Education classifies as economically disadvantaged and the almost 700,000 Black school children. These children disproportionately suffer school discipline—and receive harsher sentences than their more advantaged white peers.
Fewer children kicked out school means fewer children in the juvenile justice system. And that means more children thriving. That’s a win for justice, for Georgia, and for each and every one one of us.
R. Michael Waller
Executive Director
Additional Resources

In recognition of the incredible impact COVID-19 is having on our lives and throughout our communities, we are continuing to share resources on our social media channels. Below are a handful of resource lists gathered by trusted partners, which we hope will help connect people to the resources they need at this time:

  • (866) 399-8938—This COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline is available to all Georgians from 8:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
  • 211—Calling 211 or searching the website can help you find food, pay housing bills, access childcare, and more.
  • Atlanta Legal Aid—This resource list includes information about court closings, emergency food help, and more.
  • Georgia Department of Education—This DOE site includes links to school closure information and online learning resources.
  • Voices for Georgia’s Children—Voices has put together a robust list of news and resources around COVID-19, including financial resources, food assistance, closures, guidance on talking to children about the pandemic, and more.
  • Children's Healthcare of Atlanta—CHOA's Strong4Life resource page provides parenting guidance for the COVID-19 era, including how to talk about social distancing with kids, avoiding injuries during isolation, and much more.

We'd also like to share additional links that are helping us think about justice-related issues of the day: