Mokah Jasmine Johnson, Democratic candidate for Georgia House of Representatives District 117, will participate in a panel discussion this week at the University of Georgia on the topic of gender-based violence.
The panel is being organized by the Roosevelt Institute at UGA, a student-run think tank and civic engagement organization that seeks to spark policy-related discussions, increase voter participation, and provide resources for students interested in developing their own policy projects.
In addition to Johnson, panelists will include Rosalyn Denise Campbell, assistant professor of social work at UGA, LaKeisha Gantt, president of the Clarke County Board of Education, Caron Hope, assistant director of UGA's Health Promotion's Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention support and advocacy program, and Laila Schuler, bilingual advocate at The Cottage Sexual Assault Center and Children's Advocacy Center.
The panel discussion will be moderated by UGA Assistant Professor of Social Work Adrienne Baldwin-White.
Johnson said that violence against women is an issue that needs to be addressed by society as a whole.
“As women, we're taught that it's our responsibility to avoid being attacked by making certain choices about what we wear, how we act or where we walk,” Johnson said. “As a society, we're limiting women's freedom in order to treat the symptoms of gender-based violence. It's time we address the causes.”
In particular, the panel will focus on the unique challenges faced by women of color. It will be followed by an audience Q&A. Among other policy changes, Johnson supports the passage of hate crime legislation in Georgia that would include harsher penalties for people convicted of gender-based violence.
Johnson is an adult educator, civil rights activist and mother. She has served on the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections, former Mayor Nancy Denson’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce, and the Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General’s pre-arrest diversion program. As the former president and co-founder of the nonprofit Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement (AADM) she led successful local efforts to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance and repeal cash bail.
The event is scheduled for 6:60 to 8 p.m. Thursday at UGA's Miller Learning Center.