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ACLU of Georgia Aggressively Protecting African-American Community’s Hard-Won Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

ATLANTA – Under the leadership of executive director Andrea Young, the ACLU of Georgia is aggressively protecting the African-American community’s hard-won civil liberties and civil rights that are under attack as the COVID pandemic ravages the state and nation.

“Any government practice or policy response to the coronavirus must be grounded in science and public health,” Young said. She has called on state officials to release from jail or prison individuals who are low-level offenders, incarcerated awaiting trial because of an inability to pay cash bail, in custody due to an inability to pay fines and fees, or who are 62 or older.

State and local officials must implement procedures to protect all people who are in our prisons and jails from being exposed to and contracting the COVID-19 virus.

“People in custody cannot protect themselves,” she continued. “Placing people at risk by keeping them in jail or prison beyond what is necessary not only is immoral but also poses a far-reaching health threat to the greater community.”

The ACLU of Georgia filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Black Voters Matter challenging the constitutionality of requiring voters to buy postage stamps when submitting mail-in absentee ballots and mailing in absentee ballot applications. This is tantamount to a poll tax.

When the secretary of state announced another government task force in search for the alleged mail-in voter fraud, Young responded. “Election officials should focus their attention on helping people vote with things like paid postage rather than frightening them. The legacy of voter suppression in Georgia creates enough of a hurdle for people voting by mail for the first time.”

Andrea Young
Executive Director of ACLU Georgua

Andrea Young, is the executive director of the 22,000 member American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. She is a life-long advocate for civil and human rights. The ACLU of Georgia is a trusted, ethical, nonpartisan defender of our civil liberties: opposing threats to civil liberties; combatting voter suppression; supporting criminal justice reform; protecting freedom of speech, immigrant rights, and women’s rights, especially reproductive freedom. Under her leadership, the ACLU of Georgia has reimagined its work on a framework integrating legal action, policy, advocacy, civic engagement and communications.

Prior to taking the helm of the statewide affiliate of the ACLU in January 2017, Young was an Adjunct Professor at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. For many years, she served as executive director at the Andrew J. Young Foundation producing a nationally-syndicated series of documentary films and other programs on themes of civil and human rights.

Young has devoted her career to promoting policies to defend and extend civil and human rights. In the arena of national legislation, Young served as legislative assistant to Senator Edward Kennedy contributing to significant civil rights and international policy including the Martin Luther King Holiday Act and South Africa sanctions legislation. She later worked with the United Church of Christ in global mission and advocacy, returning to the Capitol to serve as Chief of Staff for the first woman to represent Georgia in Congress, Cynthia McKinney. She served as Vice President for External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, defending a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare. As Vice President of the National Black Child Development Institute, Young led a school readiness initiative that increased local investments in early care and education and led to a commitment to universal pre-kindergarten in Washington, DC.

Young is the author of Life Lessons My Mother Taught Me; co-author of Andrew Young and the Making of Modern Atlanta and collaborated with former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young in writing, editing and researching An Easy Burden: Civil Rights and the Transformation of America. She has been recognized, nationally for her work as an advocate for civil and human rights.

Young is a graduate of Swarthmore College and received her law degree from Georgetown University School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia. Young is married to attorney and art consultant, Jerry Thomas. She has one daughter and one granddaughter.

Last updated on May 1, 2020

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