By Roland Carlisle, 9to5 Member
Image: Roland Carlisle pictured speaking at city council meeting.
Committee member Alicia Newton and I were privileged to represent 9to5 at the press conference for National Voter’s Registration day in collaboration with the other member organizations of Pro Georgia. The opportunity to have a voice in democracy was awesome. It was an honor knowing that so many before us gave their lives in order to make this possible.
The Pro Georgia coalition stood in solidarity with each separate organization delivering dynamic messages and insightful perspectives. Several of the organizations utilized the opportunity to connect their core issues of concern to the importance of voting. Also, they were able to articulate the importance of electing public officials whose value’s reflected the values of their constituents and how this would positively impact those communities.
Accordingly, Alicia and I seized the opportunity to address employment discrimination experienced by reformed citizens. These individuals are largely disenfranchised throughout the nation. In Georgia, one of the primary sources of disenfranchisement for this particular demographic of people is through lack of information and misinformation regarding automatic restoration of voting rights.
The efforts of Georgia organizer, Marilynn Winn, have revealed that significant portions of the electorate who have felony convictions are eligible to vote and are not aware. These individuals are typically disenfranchised through misinformation and false indoctrination regarding the positive effect that voting could have on their lives and communities. It was an invigorating experience to speak to the community about our voter registration efforts in an attempt to inspire, motivate, and dispel many of the false notions regarding the effectiveness of voting.