ACLU of Georgia

Press Advisory: An Evening of Early Voter Mobilization and Action

Speaking out from his own experience, former Dekalb County CEO Burrell Ellis connects voter suppression, mass incarceration, and bipartisan criminal justice reform as the  issues that could turn Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial race. 


Media contact: Ana Maria Rosato

An ACLU of Georgia video series Voices of Smart Justice to elevate the voices of three ordinary Georgia citizens swept up in the state’s broken criminal justice system, the devastating consequences to their families, and the necessity of electing candidates in 2018 who support real reform. The event is free to the public. RSVP at

(See end of advisory for information on Ms. Adams, Ms. Boccia, and Mr. Ellis)        
Dorothy Adams, featured in video, tells her story
Kate Boccia, featured in video, tells her story
Burrell Ellis, featured in video, tells his story
Andrea Young, Executive Director, ACLU of Georgia
MC: Ariane Davis, known for her role in Love & Hip Hop Atlanta 
Moderator:  Dwight L. Thomas, Esq., Criminal Defense Attorney 

Georgia State University Law School
Ceremonial Courtroom
85 Park Place NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
VIP Reception 5:30-6:00 p.m.
Event: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The ACLU of Georgia’s Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multi-year effort to reform the criminal justice system by ending mass incarceration and eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system. 

People of color are disproportionately impacted by Georgia’s criminal justice system. For example, African-Americans make up 31 percent of the state’s total population yet represent almost two-thirds of its prison population. While the United States incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world–even more than Russia, China, or North Korea, Georgia’s incarceration rates are higher than the national average. In 2016, Georgia’s prison population was the fourth largest in the nation.

Quote: “Criminal justice reform is on the ballot in November,” said Andrea Young, Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia. “Criminal justice reform is a pre-eminent racial justice issue which is the reason we must vote for candidates who support Smart Justice.”

Voices of Smart Justice 
About Dorothy Adams– An African American woman in her early 70’s who stole a $6.99 can of Planters nuts and was locked up for 15 days in horrific conditions, because she was unable to pay a $1000 bond fee. Dorothy, who continues to take medicine for her mental health issue, had not taken her medicine on the day of her arrest.

About Kate Boccia– A white, registered Republican, suburban mother  remembers clearly the night she first received “the call” alarming them that their child had been arrested. Her “journey” was suddenly the same as a growing number of American families. Ignoring stigmas and shame, Kate now advocates for the families who are losing their loved ones to addiction and incarceration. Her most recent work is with an organization she founded and serves as its president, The National Incarceration Association. Her blog –Justice for Daniel– provides much insight.  

About Burrell Ellis– For the first time since the State Supreme Court unanimously reversed his wrongful conviction, Burrell will speak publicly about his ordeal of being maliciously and wrongfully prosecuted on trumped up charges. Currently, Burrell works for the ACLU of Georgia as its Political Director.