After tripling its membership since the November election, the ACLU of Georgia is bolstering its efforts to defend civil liberties across the state. Since the election, the organization’s statewide membership has increased threefold, an outpouring of support that the ACLU is channeling into sustained activism and positive change.
To catalyze civil rights activism at the grassroots level, the ACLU of Georgia is conducting Freedom School trainings for local activists and volunteers. The first two trainings were held in Atlanta and Savannah and more are being planned for other regions of the state.
The organization is also battling injustice and inequity through the courts – fighting for the rights of transgender Georgians to be themselves without discrimination, for the rights of citizens to challenge unconstitutional state laws, and for the rights of parents to raise their children without government interference. Moving forward, voting rights will continue to be a key focus, as access to the ballot box has come under constant attack.
In the state capitol, the ACLU of Georgia worked successfully with other civil rights groups to stop anti-LGBT legislation, block attempts to weaken the voting power of minority communities through redistricting, and ensure colleges and universities can continue to protect survivors of sexual assault.
“The outpouring of support we’ve received is truly inspiring as people across the state step up and take action for civil rights,” said ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Andrea Young. “Building a more just and equitable future is going to take all of us pulling together, so we’re thrilled that so many Georgians are not only signing up to support our work, but also taking direct action by organizing, demonstrating, and volunteering in their communities.”
The affiliate is also welcoming two new staff members to its team. The new additions, Legal Director Sean J. Young and Director of Philanthropy Laila Dreidame, will add even more horsepower to an organization that has been steadily ramping up its activities and influence under the leadership of its new executive director, Andrea Young, who started in January.
Sean J. Young joins the ACLU of Georgia after serving as senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project at the organization’s national office in New York. In that role he was actively involved in litigating cases around the country challenging discriminatory voter identification requirements, cutbacks to early voting and same-day registration, and other attempts to make it harder to vote. Prior to joining the ACLU, Young was a judicial law clerk at both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He also served as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where he litigated a variety of pro bono matters involving civil rights, fair housing, and racial justice issues. Young is a graduate of Yale Law School and Duke University.
Laila Dreidame has spent nearly a decade designing sustainable development strategies for a variety of human rights and community-based nonprofit organizations, both domestically and internationally. With a lifelong passion for social justice and community-based development, Dreidame has worked at Human Rights Watch, the Center for Justice & Accountability, and served in the U.S. Peace Corps, where she worked as a Rural Education Volunteer in both Madagascar and Zambia. Dreidame is a graduate of the University of Scranton with a dual degree in International Relations and Spanish, and was recently awarded a Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship as a Masters Candidate at New York University’s Professional Writing graduate program.