Election day, new minority caucuses, and kurtas.
Your 285 South News Roundup.
Friends! It’s election day here in Georgia. As of last Friday, at least 1.8 million people had already voted. Haven’t voted yet? You have until 7pm. Find your polling location here.
I voted last Thursday at the Dekalb County Library in Clarkston, and was lucky enough to stand behind a kind woman, originally from Somalia, who insisted I take her place in line because she could sense that I was worried I’d be late to pick up my kids from school. She also had kids - six of them - and was saving her “I secured a vote” sticker for one of her little ones.
I guess my point is: even though I had to go to the polls twice this election season - I didn’t mind (too much). There’s something about people stepping out of their routines to take part in something larger than all of us, that’s uplifting.
Ok, let’s get started:
Representation in the Georgia General Assembly is slowly starting to reflect the demographics of the state. The new session, which begins January 9th, will have the first ever Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus. It will have 12 serving members - both Republican and Democrat - reflecting a historic level of representation for the state’s AAPI communities. Read more about it here.
Senator Jason Anivitarte (R- Dallas) and Representative-elect Rey Martinez (R-Loganville) announced the creation of the Georgia Hispanic Caucus- which will be open to both Republicans and Democrats serving in the Senate and House. Four Hispanic and Latino candidates were elected to the General Assembly in November, making the total number ten. Read more here and here.
Representative Sam Park makes history: More for the books - Representative Sam Park will serve as House Minority Whip in new legislative session. This is the first time an Asian American will be holding the leadership position. More here.
On a different note - mental health challenges for refugees: “We need trauma counseling for people.… We need that so badly….Everybody is struggling,” said Dr. Hogai Nassery of the Afghan American Alliance of Georgia, in an interview with the AJC, referring to the more than 1500 Afghans who arrived in Georgia after the Taliban takeover in 2021. To address the need, Georgia State University’s Prevention Research Center is working with the IRC to integrate counselors into the resettlement process. Read about the initiative here.
And finally, Pakistani clothes. If you happen to see a copy of the December issue of Atlanta Magazine, you’ll find an article I’ve written, thanking J. Junaid Jamshed, a Pakistani clothing shop in Norcross, for making it a lot easier to find 100 percent cotton, colorful and elegant kurtas in the Atlanta area.
Before I go - check out the 285 South Holiday guide if you haven’t already - it’s full of ways to help and places to buy gifts to support the region’s immigrant and refugee communities. Here’s an Instagram post featuring some of the vendors I met at a recent gift fair.
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