GYJC Press Statement Regarding Gwinnett Representation Undermined Via SB 5EX and SB 6EX

November 10, 2021 5:00 PM: The Georgia Youth Justice Coalition denounces GOP Representative Dixon’s decision to bypass community input and just mapmaking processes in his attempts to disempower Gwinnett’s voters of color. Choosing to draw maps behind closed doors and rush past any public processes unjustly silences nearly one million Gwinnettians.

Yesterday, Rep. Dixon of the Georgia House Delegation from Gwinnett proposed Senate Bills 5EX and 6EX to (respectively) alter the Gwinnett County School Board map and double the size of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.

Without the opportunity for Gwinnett residents to express their opinions or concerns, SB 5EX was passed out of committee just one day later. Overnight, Gwinnett’s school board was radically altered without input from Gwinnett students, teachers, voters, taxpayers, or the vast majority of democratically elected officials.

This bill involves numerous, unilateral, radical changes meant to override the interests of Gwinnett residents. We understand Rep. Dixon’s push to diminish the voices and votes of Gwinnett to be yet another instance of racist backlash against diversity and inclusion in this county. The interests of one politician should not come before those of our communities. We urge the Georgia General Assembly to provide ample opportunity for public input, accessible to all Gwinnett residents.

Former North Gwinnett High School student and Muslim American Nida Merchant said “I grew up in Gwinnett, and surrounded by such a diverse district I always felt safe, valued, and included in my community. These new proposed maps undermine that feeling of belonging because they tell people like me, ‘your voice and vote are meaningless.’ The lack of process in Rep. Dixon’s map proposal is abhorrent.”

Current Peachtree Ridge High School student Lily Littrell said, “Sb 5EX especially excludes the voices of our school district, and in a time where racism and divisiveness threaten our education more than ever, this last-minute decision is an attack on democracy and young Gwinnettians like me.”

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Alex Ames, a former Gwinnett student and current Georgia Tech student, said “To see racist accusations against educators be weaponized against our communities is disappointing to say the least. Rep. Dixon is lying about what’s taught in schools to stoke bigotry and justify the subversion of democracy. The state of Georgia should not be allowing any one single legislator to alter an entire local government structure for a full decade. How is that democracy?”

Zarina Jones, a student organizer at UGA and former Cobb County student, “Students and families know hatred has no place in our district. To put politics in the classroom harms everyone.”