Today, we are thrilled to welcome Georgia Youth Justice Coalition to the Alliance Network!
We are so excited to have another group of youth organizers join us in building progressive people power across the nation. Founded in 2021, Georgia Youth Justice Coalition (GYJC) is a grassroots collective of Black, brown, LGBTQ+, working class, and allied students advocating for youth power and justice in Georgia.
Meet Georgia Youth Justice Coalition
The Georgia Youth Justice Coalition was first led by students fighting for fair maps and fair budgets for Georgia’s children and families. In 2022, GYJC grew from engaging a few hundred high school and college students alongside their families and communities, to dedicated local organizing campaigns impacting thousands of Georgians in six counties and six campuses.
Today they’re activating youth communities, shifting the political narrative, incubating movement leaders, building power, and winning meaningful policy and electoral victories across Georgia.
Looking ahead, GYJC plans to scale their work, onboard new staff and add new technological tools to expand to sixteen counties and fourteen campuses.
GYJC Is Winning
In 2022, GYJC secured over one billion dollars in funding for schools, stopped Don’t Say Gay legislation, and defeated every book ban in the state of Georgia. They paid and trained over 1,000 students in legislative advocacy, community organizing, movement history, and storytelling.
During the midterm cycle, youth organizers at GYJC ran the largest youth-mobilizing-youth effort in Georgia with over 95,000 face-to-face conversations with young Georgia voters, focusing on young Black and brown voters who make up over 45% of the youth electorate in Georgia. They toured the state to engage Georgia’s next generation and hold elected officials accountable to parents, caregivers, educators, students, and young Georgians at the ballot box.
GYJC organizes 356 days a year in public schools and colleges spanning 88+ Georgia counties. Google “Black youth organizing in Georgia”, and GYJC is the first hit, and for good reason. Last year, GYJC’s 332 student organizers were 81% Black fighting for issues impacting Black youth across the state.
Meet the GYJC Team Leads
Meet some of the youth organizers helping GYJC make it happen!
Executive Director – Melody Oliphant
Advocacy – Mason Goodwin and Jordan Madden
Campus Mobilization – Rhea Wunsch and Julian Fortuna
Chiefs of Staff – James Wilson and Myla Williams
Comms & Narrative – Zeena Mohamed and Isabelle Philip
County Organizing – Austin Dixon
Digital – Arwin Hasan and Ava Bussey
Finance & Operations – Yana Batra
Student Power Hub – Marrow Woods
Welcome the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition crew to the Alliance Network with a donation! A donation to Georgia Youth Justice Coalition is an investment in local youth organizing and a direct action to help progress the demands of young people.
Our Mission to Expand the Alliance Network
The Alliance believes every young person deserves a political home in their local community that centers the issues young people care about most. As a part of our new five-year strategic plan, the Alliance is expanding the network by focusing on organizations led by and centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) that build with young people in a long-term organizing model because it is critical for Black, Indigenous and people of color to organize within and for their communities.
Young people’s voices and votes matter in every state and race nationwide. However, in close elections decided by just a few percentage points, young voters can be more than influential and we’ve seen that in the state of Georgia the last two election cycles. Expanding our network to include GYJC will help fuel the growth and sustainability of grassroots organizing led by Black youth in Georgia who have historically been and continue to be systemically under-resourced.
Young Georgians have propelled Georgia to become a consistent battleground state. In 2020, Black youth in Georgia were credited with delivering a victory to President Joe Biden, the first Democrat to win the state in nearly three decades. Because of the power of the Black youth vote, the Georgia race for U.S. Senate headed to a runoff for the last two straight election cycles, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock prevailed. We know that record-breaking youth voter turnout happens when we invest in sustained youth outreach. Among battleground states, Georgia has the largest share of 18-24-year-old voters, so we’re gearing up for Georgia to once again be at the forefront of politics in 2024 and beyond.
According to CIRCLE data, young people are more likely to pay attention to local, Congressional, and Senate elections when contacted by a local community organization. And it is the local youth-led organizations in the Alliance Network like GYJC that do just that – contact young people through innovative, impactful peer-to-peer organizing.
Youth organizers at GYJC provide the education and leadership development necessary for young people to make their voices heard at the state house, courthouse, and the ballot box; to protest and advocate, organize and testify. Young people in Georgia have unmistakable political power because of crews like GYJC.
Here’s to an amazing journey together as we continue to build up youth-led people power in the south, and across the nation!