One of the primary strategic goals of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement is to provide direct assistance and advocacy support for people experiencing discrimination in our community. The criminal justice system, police, governments, and private companies continue to perpetuate racism and discrimination against Black and Brown Athenians. As we know, Black and Brown citizens experience substantial mistreatment and abuse particularly from law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
During 2021, the AADM received twenty-seven discrimination complaints concerning police brutality and misconduct, jail abuse, attorney misconduct, local government misconduct, retail discrimination, and workplace complaints. Most complaints were related to law enforcement.
Breakdown of complaints for 2021:
3 Local Govt
For example, we assisted a family to obtain key evidence through Open Records Requests and provided advocacy support after the Georgia State Patrol failed to respond to the family regarding the death of their child during a police pursuit. We also received complaints about law enforcement discriminating in more subtle, but equally harmful ways. Several complained about inaccurate police reports, lack of due process, and jail abuse.
We also saw a slight uptick in complaints regarding public official misconduct. In June, the AADM Discrimination Complaints Team took on a high profile case involving the former Athens-Clarke County Internal Auditor Stephanie Maddox. We advocated vigorously in support of her workplace discrimination complaint against ACC Mayor Kelly Girtz and Manager Blaine Williams. Currently, Ms. Maddox is pursuing a federal retaliation complaint. The AADM will continue to support and advocate for Ms. Maddox.
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. The AADM exists to ensure that those who have been harmed have resources, moral support, and are provided with fair access to legal aid, due process, and public advocacy. The AADM Discrimination Complaints Team is proud of its advocacy work and will continue to support anyone experiencing discrimination in the Athens area in 2022.
Mokah Jasmine Johnson, AADM President
Dr. Joseph Carter, AADM Civil Rights Liaison