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Announcing the 2024 ProGeorgia Get Out the Vote Art of Navigating Change Cohort

By March 12, 2024No Comments

In partnership with ProGeorgia and the State Infrastructure Fund, Rockwood is proud to announce the ProGeorgia Get Out the Vote Art of Navigating Change cohort. Understanding the amount of attention, victories, and challenges Get Out the Vote leaders face, this brand-new partnership was created to support and strengthen Get Out the Vote leaders doing crucial and deeply important work in Georgia. This training will bring together 30 leaders who serve BIPOC, queer, rural, and disabled communities for a two-day intensive session that will increase leaders’ tools for resilience and allow them to continue to do their work in a way that is transformative and sustainable.

The 2024 ProGeorgia Get Out the Vote Art of Navigating Change cohort are: 

Darrick Alvarez | Director of Civic Engagement, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials

Darrick is the Director of Civic Engagement at the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, an organization involved in increasing civic participation of the Latinx community and developing prominent Latino leaders throughout Georgia while advocating for immigration reform and voting rights and at the same time upholding their core values of advocacy, inclusion, non-partisan, diversity, and responsiveness. He has worked in civic engagement for over 5 years dedicating his efforts to educating Latino communities across Georgia on all voting matters.

Kristen Baker | Public Affairs Manager & Lobbyist, Feminist Women’s Health Center

Kristen works as Feminist Women’s Health Center’s Public Affairs Manager and full-time lobbyist. Their area of experience is focused on abortion access, Reproductive Justice, comprehensive sex education, and victims’ services.  Advocating for free, accessible, abortions without stigma or barriers is at the core of the work they hope to be a part of for the entirety of their career.

Maggie Bell | Civic Engagement Director, SOWEGA Rising

As the Civic Engagement Director for SOWEGA Rising, Maggie is passionate about shaking the table and being a part of the rising movement to break down systemic barriers in the South. She is adamant about ensuring that young black voters and black rural voters have a seat at the table and political power to improve our overall quality of life. If the room fits 20 people, she’s bringing 30—just to be safe. Maggie has spearheaded campaigns addressing food insecurity, criminal justice reform, corporate accountability, the cancellation of student loan debt, and mobilization efforts to empower rural Georgians.

Xan-Rhea Bilal | Senior Community Oragnizer, Georgia Muslim Voter Project

Xan-Rhea is a dedicated advocate and community leader, currently serving as the Senior Community Organizer for Voter Registration and Get Out the Vote Programs at Georgia Muslim Voter Project (GAMVP). In this role, Xan plays a pivotal part in managing the organizing team and shaping programming that ensures Georgia Muslims are well-informed and engaged voters within their communities. When she’s not organizing, Xan loves reading and watching science fiction, volunteering for sustainable development projects, and spending time with her family.

Ebony Brown  | Middle Georgia Coordinator, The Georgia Coalition for The People’s Agenda

Ebony is an entrepreneur and a community activist fighting for civil rights, women’s rights, and injustices around the nation. With a strong passion to serve others she takes pride in participating in community engagement forums that build long lasting relationships within the community. While formerly a Chapter President of Youth in Action, she was able to experience and promote significant, positive change in communities and individuals through advocacy, empowered by compassion. Ebony is currently the Middle Georgia Coordinator at The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda and is a student at Morris Brown College where her mission is to champion for affordable college tuition and fair elections.

Melinee Calhoun | Senior State Organizing Manager, Black Voters Matter Fund

Melinee is the Senior State Organizing Manager in Georgia for Black Voters Matter. She has been with BVM since September 2020 where she leads Georgia’s field organizing team in partnership with local organizations. Melinee holds a BS in Criminal Justice, Masters of Business Administration and PhD in Public Policy & Public Administration with a specialization in Criminal Justice. 

Othellious Cato | South Georgia Organizer, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light

Othellious is a South Georgia Organizer at Georgia Interfaith Power and Light where he creates grassroots faith teams within congregations across South Georgia. His passion for organizing was ignited in 2016 when he saw Rural Communities like his hometown of Albany, Ga being underserved. Othellious is ever-focused on affecting policy using grassroots organizing at the state and local levels.

Anthony DeMetris Causer | Voting Rights Attorney/Fellow, NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Anthony is a Voting Rights Attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Using the power of law, narrative, research, and people, we defend and advance the full dignity and citizenship of Black people in America. DeMetris was raised in Waycross, GA (South GA), which is where he became interested in supporting Black political participation in the rural south and where he is now problem-solving issues associated with voter apathy in the months leading up to crucial elections, particularly among young Black voters.

Marqus Cole | Organizing Director, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light 

Marqus is a 2022 Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication as well as a 2023 Grist Fixer. Marqus is called to train, equip, and mobilize new leaders to change the institutions and systems they find themselves in. His thought leadership sits at the intersection of racial justice, environmental justice, and biblical justice with a passion for helping people and communities move toward reconciliation and restoration. Marqus holds a bachelor degree in Political Science from Georgia State University (08), a Juris Doctorate from DePaul College of Law (J.D. ’12). Marqus was trained as part of the initial cohort of the Racial Justice Training Institute (’14), and has subsequently mentored others and remained an active part of the national community of advocates for a more just and equitable community.

Elisa Covarrubias | Deputy Director, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials

Elisa joined GALEO as Deputy Director in July of 2023. Prior to this, she worked in non-profit social services for over 20 years, with a focus on gender-based violence intervention and prevention, serving as Chief Operating Officer at LiveSafe Resources and then CEO at Men Stopping Violence. In 2019, Elisa participated in the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute, where she worked with her team to champion legislation to improve the systemic response to domestic violence in Georgia.

Ida Gary | Lead Organizer GA, Black Voters Matter Fund

Ida is the Lead Organizer for Georgia at the Black Voters Matter Fund where she assists partners on the ground as they establish infrastructure, build power, increase voter turnout, and work to ensure that elected officials are held accountable to the people they serve. With all that I’ve done, there’s still so much more to do. Her bio is a work in progress, but believing wholeheartedly that Black people DESERVE excellence is the motivating force behind her work. 

Jewel Howard | Civic Engagement Manager, 9to5

Jewel is the Civic Engagement Manager for 9to5, a grassroots organization advocating for working women and their families and has been working in social justice since 2015. She has managed voter registration and GOTV campaigns in every election since 2016. Jewel has served as panelists and host for civic education events. In addition to her work in social justice, Jewel is a multi-Emmy nominated producer and Bronze Telly award winner and a graduate of Roosevelt University with a B.S. in Business Administration.

Asim Javed | Senior Community Organizer, Georgia Muslim Voter Project

Asim is a community organizer, advocate, and activist. His interests include mutual aid, environmental and social justice, and fighting for liberation for all. Asim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology and has used his STEM background to develop his analytical and critical thinking skills, which he uses to better understand and help address the societal challenges we face. In his current role as a Senior Community Organizer with Georgia Muslim Voter Project, Asim leads the organization’s Youth Engagement, Policy Advocacy, and Civic Education work. Asim firmly believes in our collective responsibility to support one another and is dedicated to fostering education, facilitating access to resources, and nurturing trust within communities. In his free time, Asim enjoys being outdoors, weightlifting, and spending time with friends and family.

Alicia Johnson | Executive Director, Step Up Savannah

Alicia, a Savannah, Georgia native, is an accomplished leader with a trailblazing community development legacy. Her expertise spans health equity, equity and economic inclusion, strategic planning, fund development, program and organizational development, and marketing. As the first African American and native Savannahian executive director of Step Up Savannah, Alicia spearheads economic inclusion in the SE Region. Her rich career includes pioneering roles in public and private sectors, earning her statewide and national recognition as an economic inclusion leader. Alicia’s impactful journey includes transformative initiatives and recognition as a Bank of America Racial Economic Justice Fellow. Recently, she contributed to the Urban League of Greater Atlanta’s State of Black Georgia Report and continues to showcase her expertise on various national, statewide, and local panels.

Andrea Lanes | Lead Canvasser, Women Engaged

Andrea Lanes is a canvass lead with Women Engaged. In her first career, Andrea was a home healthcare provider for 20 years. Following her retirement in 2014, she became engaged in voter registration and has worked with many organizations in Georgia. Andrea is focused on passing on her work creating change and going above and beyond on purpose on to the next generations. She was awarded the 2021 Anna Julia Cooper Award for Outstanding Community Leadership by Women Engaged and recognized for her service during the pandemic in 2020 by ProGeorgia.

Vivian Moore | Political Action Chairperson, Georgia NAACP

Vivian has worked in her community for over 25 years. Vivian’s specialty is identifying resources for problems within the community and or neighborhood and she believes we grow through positive exposure. Her years of experience include supporting youth in her community around college access and creating the programs Sister Talk and Brother Talk. As Political Action Chairperson for the Georgia NAACP, Vivian has focused on voter registration and voter advocacy for seniors and the incarcerated. In addition to her work with the Georgia NAACP, Vivian has spent the last ten years with the YMCA and is a planning commissioner for her district.

Shamsun Nahar | Director of Community Health and Prevention, Center for Pan Asian Community Services

Shamsun is a Bangladeshi Muslim American immigrant who has dedicated the past decade to community organizing in the metro Atlanta area. With a focus on health equity, domestic violence prevention, and civic education, she has engaged numerous initiatives to address pressing issues and empower underserved communities. Outside of her professional endeavors, she finds solace in exploring timeless literature and fantastical worlds during her moments of respite.

Frances O’Bryant  | Special Assistant to CEO, Peach Concerned Citizens Inc.

Frances is the Special Assistant to the CEO at Peach Concerned Citizens, an organization that strives to create positive change by providing resources and support to individuals and families in need. In her role, Frances creates marketing plans, develops strategies to reach the community, and creates content. A recent graduate of Fort Valley State University, she is also a liaison between Peach Concerned Citizens and the University. She believes in fighting for social justice for African-Americans and young students in rural communities.

Leslie Palomino | Georgia Senior Program Coordinator, Poder Latinx

Leslie is a Georgia native who grew up in Gwinnett County. Leslie holds a background in political campaigning, legislative advocacy, and community grassroots organizing. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a concentration in Pre-Law and a minor in Journalism from Georgia State University. Leslie is a champion for change in her community and is passionate about increasing the civic participation of Latinxs in Georgia. Through her work, she strives to engage the next generation of leaders to become changemakers who are civically engaged and politically empowered.

Sincere Porter | Trans Health Outreach Coordinator, Feminist Women’s Health Center

Sincere’s 20 years of advocacy and activism began in Florida after serving in the United States Army. His work began and includes Ryan White and HIV care as a Certified HIV & STD/STI tester and Educator, SSP & Harm Reduction, and Grassroots Organizing within the LGBTQIA community. Sincere’s work now includes being a Trans Health Coordinator bridging Reproductive justice, gender affirming care, and the Transgender community. He is currently a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the Society of Family Planning and a LGBTQ Mentor of Atlanta.

Blake Robinson | Georgia Student Advisory Board Representative, Campus Vote Project

Blake is a Georgia Student Advisory Board Representative for the Campus Vote Project. As a student voice in civic engagement, Blake has worked with his fellow students to encourage and engage them in voting. He has always had a passion for the power of the vote and the ability to use your vote to make a difference. Through this work, SAB representatives help institutions and communities build voter power by developing the next generation of citizens who are engaged and informed about their democracy. As part of this next generation, Blake is focused on navigating the immense change that will be coming to Georgia in the next few years. 

Bridgette Simpson | Executive Director, Barred Business

Bridgette is an organizer, abolitionist, activist, advocate, Executive Director and Co Founder of Barred Business, 2023 Soros Fellow (educate the public and create The Protected Class Network, seeking to make justice-impacted people a protected class), member of City of Atlanta’s Human Relations Commission,  entrepreneur, and certified life coach, drawing from her experiences as a formerly incarcerated survivor to inspire change. In Atlanta, Bridgette founded the S.T.A.B.L.E. program, a groundbreaking re-entry initiative for women, and successfully spearheaded the Google Career Skills for the justice-impacted program. Guided by a profound belief in liberation, equity, and the collective power of those impacted by the justice system, she consistently advances her mission of reform.

Ayanna Smith | Lead organizer for GA Chapter, National Domestic Workers Alliance /We Dream in Black

Ayanna is a Lead Organizer for the Georgia Chapter of We Dream In Black, an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, where she does local organizing for Black and Brown domestic workers. Ayanna is a natural creative, mixed media visual artist, urban farmer, mother of four and born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a community movement builder, focused on social and global justice that expands the rights and capacities of Black Women, our families, and the spaces in which we live. Ayanna incorporates healing justice by creating community altars and wellness spaces for black and brown women and cultural organizing as a component of racial and social equity.

Jocelyne Soto  | Civic Engagement Director, Mi Familia Vota

Jocelyne is a  25 year old queer Chicana from Houston, TX. Jocelyne is currently the Civic Engagement Director at Mi Familia Vota, a national civic engagement organization dedicated to empowering the Latinx community, where she recruits, trains, and builds the foundation for several programs across Georgia. She has experience organizing, directing campaigns, and executing statewide voter engagement efforts but is most excited about leading the Latino Electorate Engagement Fellowship (L.E.E.F.), a group of 11 fellows in the fight for environmental justice and immigration issues in Georgia. Jocelyne is inspired by the strength of her ancestors and she tries to honor them in everything she does.

Chanel Taylor | Operations Manager, Collective Renaissance Georgia

Chanel is currently the operations manager for Collective Renaissance GA , a youth black-lead organization that focuses on promoting civic engagement for young black folks under 35. Chanel has 5 years of experience in supervising and her diverse and extensive experience includes event planning, curriculum development, and customer service.

Camille Thompson  | Executive Director, Collective Renaissance Georgia

Camille, a graduate of Howard University (Spring 2022) holding dual degrees in Political Science and Economics, is deeply committed to various social justice causes. Hailing from Atlanta, Camille’s passion lies in issues such as racial justice, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, and economic justice. Her journey began in high school when she discovered the transformative potential of data and economic policy while interning at BlueLabs, a progressive data and technology firm. During her time at Howard, she interned at the Democracy Alliance, a network of progressive donors, and actively organized with Blue Future, a student-led organization dedicated to progressive voter outreach. Currently based in Atlanta, Camille serves as the Executive Director of Collective Renaissance Georgia where she builds political power within young Black folx under 34.

Pedro Viloria | HWB Program Manager, Latino Community Fund Georgia

Pedro is a results-driven professional with eight years of experience in project management, communications, and community outreach. Currently the Health and Wellbeing Manager at Latino Community Fund Georgia, he’s led a statewide program administering over 20,000 vaccines and managed a team providing financial assistance to 600+ community members. Pedro’s passion lies in connecting and empowering communities, with a particular focus on advocacy for the Latino community.

Akeem Williams | Program Coordinator, SOWEGA Rising

Akeem is a Program Coordinator at SOWEGA Rising where he mobilizes and educates people on voter education across Southwest Georgia. The work that Akeem does helps rural areas learn more about civic engagement in their communities, the importance of healthcare, and how local laws change our way of living through those issues.

Ruthie Williams | Community Collaborative Coordinator, Step Up Savannah

Dr. Ruthie is the Community Collaborative Coordinator at Step Up Savannah where she assists in carrying out organizational goals for community outreach and building program capacity. Here, she leads and coordinates programs such as Americorps VISTA, Civic Engagement, Working Families Network and the Neighborhood Leadership Academy. 

Shechel Williams  | Organizer, National Domestic Workers Alliance/We Dream in Black

Shechel is a family caregiver and skilled organizer with the National Domestic Workers Alliance / We Dream in Black (WEDIB). During the 2018 midterm elections, as a worker-leader with WEDIB Shechel was the canvassing field lead for Care in Action, one of the largest grassroots programs reaching women of color voters in Georgia. She was elected as the 2019 Dorothy Bolden Fellow to help organize Black domestic workers in Georgia full-time. In November 2021, Shechel advocated for family caregivers’ inclusion in the Build Back Better Act at the White House. In Spring 2022 Shechel began a new fellowship with Jobs with Justice and the Institute for Policy Studies, the Advancing Black Strategist Initiative (ABSI). ABSI offered a cohort of Black worker-leaders direct experience and advancing understanding of the ABSI ‘School of Thought’ in fellowship with Black academics, labor leaders, and organizers. In 2024, Shechel returned to NDWA/WEDiB as a Georgia Organizer coming full circle.

Rockwood Community Call

India Harville

disability justice consultant, public speaker, somatics practitioner, and performance artist

April 25 | 12 PT / 3 ET

India Harville, African American female with long black locs, seated in her manual wheelchair wearing a long sleeveless green dress. Her service dog, Nico, a blond Labrador Retriever, has his front paws on her lap. He is wearing a blue and yellow service dog vest. They are outside with greenery behind them.