After a two-year hiatus, Georgia Justice Project (GJP) gathered in person with supporters earlier this month for our annual Grass Roots Justice Awards to celebrate the individuals, partners and organizations that make our work possible.
GJP’s Board Chair, Robert Preston Brown (McKenny’s, Inc.), opened the event by thanking supporters for their continued commitment to serving those impacted by the criminal legal system: “During this time of great uncertainty, there were glimmers of hope to be found all around us… we come together to celebrate the support of people who remained committed to our clients despite a global pandemic, political divisions, and during an inflection point on racial justice.”
At the event, GJP announced three awards to individuals committed to reducing barriers to reentry:
- Pro Bono Partner of the Year Award: DeAnn & David Sinrich of Sinrich Strategies LLC, honored for their volunteer work with GJP as trial consultants, donating hours of expertise to help us prepare for important trials, as well as training GJP attorneys to hone their skills in sharing client stories to prosecutors and judges.
- Community Partner of the Year Award: Latonia Hines (and the Cobb County Second Chance Desk Partners) for her role in helping GJP bring together various stakeholders to establish Cobb County’s Second Chance Desk. The first of its kind in Georgia, the Second Chance Desk (also known as an expungement desk) offers a streamlined and efficient record restriction service for people with a Cobb County criminal record. In its first 10 months of operation, the Desk has served 317 people and cleared 373 records, reducing barriers to employment and housing.
- The “Sheandra Clark” Volunteer of the Year Award: Julie Wood (Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs). Named for a former dedicated GJP board member and volunteer who passed away unexpectedly, this annual award honors a volunteer who has gone above and beyond to serve Georgians impacted by the criminal legal system. Julie Wood was honored this year for her tireless work in service of our clients, closing over 19 cases since 2017; more than any other volunteer on record.
The event included video messages from Senator Tonya Anderson; Senator Brian Strickland; Aaron Smitherman (GJP Client); DeAnn & David Sinrich of Sinrich Strategies, LLC; Julie Wood of Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs; and the Cobb Second Chance Desk Partners. You can view the full videos below and on our YouTube page!
We are grateful to everyone who came out to celebrate with us. We would especially like to thank our Champion & Advocate partners including: Atlanta Gas Light, Georgia Power, UPS, Delta Air Lines, and King & Spalding, The Home Depot, Georgia-Pacific, Alston & Bird, Microsoft, and Verizon.