Uncategorized

What Does “Economic Justice” Mean to You As a Woman or Racial Minority?

The answer to this question is simple to me. It means economic parity—parity in access to capital for minority businesses, access to economic opportunities through employment and sustainability for minorities and any and all things in between. Since focusing my law firm on capital compliance for small businesses and since being elected to the Georgia legislature, I have seen vast differences in the capital raising pipeline, access and process between minorities and non-minorities. It has been concerning so I decided to do something about it.

That is why I launched Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group, LLC (“KAAG”). This is a full service consulting and advocacy firm for groups and individuals who want to fight for economic justice in their community for racial minorities and women. We help with event planning, advocacy consulting and general consulting on economic justice matters that matter to you!

KAAG did a “soft launch” in February but we have been busy since that time. Here are a few highlights:

(1) I became a Black Enterprise Magazine contributor in January of this year and have published three articles so far, with a 4th one PENDING on an Atlanta based company using technology to connect citizens with issues and policy markers:

Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to my blog to receive my Black Enterprise articles as soon as it posts.

(2) I built an enewsletter called “DarshunSpeaks” with a strong following of over 140 committed people to the cause of economic justice. It continues to grow by the day. You can view the past enewsletters below:

Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to keep up with all the activities of KAAG and be the first to know about specials and events.

(3) I scheduled a series of events starting this spring. First one coming up!

April 18th Meet Up- Register online today!

View other events online which include, but not limited to, May 2nd Twitter chat on “The State of Minorities Access to Capital” and an end of May Book Club and Investment Club meeting.

Will you join the cause?

I am pleased to announce our signature event on July 25th in partnership with the Chick fil A Foundation, TAG (Technology Association of Georgia), the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus and Minority Access to Capital, Inc. on minorities raising capital and growth strategies at the Georgia World Congress Center. *Sponsorships are available for each of these events so visit us online to learn more.

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My name is Dar’shun Kendrick and I am a business attorney and owner of Kendrick Law Practicehelping businesses raise capital the LEGAL way. I have 2 B.A.s from Oglethorpe University, a law degree from the University of Georgia and an M.B.A. from Kennesaw State University. Additionally,I have been elected to the Georgia House of Representatives (East DeKalb/South Gwinnett counties) since 2011 and I serve on the committees of Juvenile Justice, Interstate Cooperation, Judiciary NonCivil and as the ranking Democrat on the Small Business and Job Creation Committee. I am also board member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s corporate development board.

Currently, I am also Founder and Board Chair of a non-profit organization to EDUCATE and EMPOWER minorities called Minority Access to Capital, Inc. . Furthermore, I am an Economic Justice Advocate and Owner of Kendrick Advisory and Advocacy Group, LLC providing consulting and advocacy services on policy and initiatives for minorities across the nation. More information can be found online at www.DarshunKendrick.com about my platform.

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Uncategorized

Entreprenur Kathryn Finney Discusses How Economic Parity Can Be Achieved With Technology

As you know, February is Black History month. I know most of you have been bombarded with Black History facts about the past throughout the month, however, I’d like to take the time to highlight the black future. With this in mind, it gives me pleasure to highlight one of my favorite black technology entrepreneurs,…

Source: Entreprenur Kathryn Finney Discusses How Economic Parity Can Be Achieved With Technology

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Uncategorized, Voting & Elections

Is Expanded Voting Coming to Gwinnett County? See the 2016 Budget Proposals.

Happy New Year (in a couple of days anyway)!

Not only will we bring in 2016 but the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners will also be voting on their 2016 County Budget. I have heard from constituents in the Gwinnett portion of my district (where about 60% of the voting age population reside) about the possibility of shorter early voting days and locations. This is a valid concern…especially given the laws the Georgia legislature has passed to curtail early voting and, in some cases, voting period in Georgia. So I wanted to provide you with some preliminary information before the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners votes on Tuesday, Jan. 5th on the proposed budget. The purpose of this is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES since the proposed budget has not been voted on yet.

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Information To Know

First, here is the proposed Budget Resolution that gives an overall view of the Chairman’s proposed budget. By the way, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Gwinnett is Charlotte Nash. I have had the opportunity on several occasions to meet her husband and her adorable dog Oscar, whom I want to run away with but I digress…..

Second, take a look at this information on community services that gives a visual on the proposed budget, specifically at the number of registered voters in Gwinnett and the upcoming election schedule for 2016. Mark your calendar! Be there to vote EVERY time. (Take a look at page 15-16 and pages 20-22.)

So how did the Chairwoman come up with the budget? 

“Chairman Nash invited five county residents and business people to serve on a budget review committee. Two of the committee members graduated from the inaugural class of the Gwinnett Citizens Academy. After hearing presentations from elected officials and department directors in late August and early September, the group studied departmental business plans, budget needs, and revenue projections to make recommendations for the 2016 budget.” (Source– last accessed 12/29/15) I know there have been some that have challenged the integrity of the selection process to this budget review committee. I understand your concerns but they will not be addressed in this blog post.

The Complaint

It’s my understanding that some feel as if Gwinnett county’s voting population is too large to only have the proposed voting dates and locations in place. I am aware that there is a petition that calls for the following: “Demand seventeen (17) days of early voting with ten (10) satellite locations from 7:00am to 7:00pm with 1 Saturday and 1 Sunday included.” The best option proposed by the Board of Voter Registration was twelve (12) days of early voting at eight (8) locations (Source, page 22) . Three recommendations were submitted to the Citizens Budget Review Committee to chose one that fit into the County budget. The Citizens’ Budget Review Committee recommended keeping AIP voting at six (6) days including one (1) Saturday but substantially  expanding the hours for the November General Election from 7am to 7pm.  The Elections Central Office will have 16 days of AIP voting, including one (1) Saturday. (Per Phil Hoskins, Deputy County Administrator via email dated 12/29/15)

The Response

I hear your concerns and want to make sure I provide you with as much preliminary information as possible. I emailed Chairman Nash and she swiftly provided the following response, in part: “[T]he Proposed Budget that I submitted to the District Commissioners in November includes funding for more locations and longer hours for AIP [advanced in person] voting than we have had previously. In total, the Proposed Budget includes almost $7.5 million to fund elections in 2016, including expansion of AIP voting locations and times.”  (dated 12/29/15)

For those of you that vote at the Centerville Community Center and have concerns about that voting location, I was able to get a response from the Chairman as well: ” Based on construction at that location, using it as a location for AIP voting would have resulted in shutting down Senior Center functions there for certain periods of time.  The Board of Voter Registrations and Elections did not want to affect the seniors in this way so the Board chose not to use this location for 2016.” (dated 12/29/15)

For your information, here is a full list of the AIP voting locations from Phil Hoskins, Deputy County Administrator:  With the addition of Shorty Howell Park, Gwinnett County will provide eight (8) AIP voting locations, including the Elections Central Office.  The  AIP voting locations are:  Bogan Park Community Center; Dacula Park Activity Building; Elections Central Office; George Pierce Park Community Center; Lenora Park Activity Building; Lucky Shoals Park Community Center; and Mountain Park Activity Building (note:  the Mountain Park location replaces the Centerville Community Center due to construction plans along with the senior center activities now held at Centerville). (dated 12/29/15) Please note for future reference.

UPDATE: (as of 1/5/16)

GWINNETT ADOPTS

$1.5 BILLION BUDGET

(Lawrenceville, Ga., Jan. 5, 2015) – Gwinnett commissioners adopted a balanced, $1.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2016 at their first meeting of the year on Tuesday. With the exception of slight adjustments made to police budget, it mirrors the proposal made in November. Commissioners spent that time reviewing the budget and comments they received during a December public hearing and through an online form.

The adopted budget holds the line on property tax rates while funding services cut during the recession, addressing concerns about workforce recruitment and retention, and investing in essential infrastructure and critical community needs. Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said, “This budget invests in the big picture, focusing on what’s really important for our community. It also is in line with our history of sustainable, conservative financial management by looking at future implications of today’s decisions.”

The operating budget totals $1.1 billion, compared to $1.05 billion last year. It includes an additional $7.2 million to cover election expenses and expand hours and locations for advance voting. It also unfreezes 25 police positions and restores staff at the animal shelter and in parks maintenance. Library funding is up to 88 percent of its 2008 level and Gwinnett Transit can add three new express routes. Home care and delivered meals are expanded for seniors on waiting lists. There will be additions to a special victims unit in the District Attorney’s office, 30 new police officers, nine new firefighter/paramedics, 12 new part-time sheriff deputies, three new Juvenile Court positions and another magistrate judge. The budget includes a four percent pay-for-performance increase for eligible employees and the restoration of longevity pay.

The capital budget of $363 million, down from $371 million last year, funds design for a new state patrol building, a courthouse expansion, construction of a new medical examiner/morgue building, senior center renovations and body cameras for police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

Nash again asked five county residents and business people to serve voluntarily on a budget review committee. They heard presentations from elected officials and department directors in September and studied departmental business plans, funding needs and revenue projections with County staff before making recommendations for the 2016 budget.

Call to Action

You have until Thursday, December 31st to submit your comments on the budget to this online comment form if you reside in Gwinnett county. Thank you for allowing me to serve all of you!

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I have been elected to the House of Representatives since 2011, representing over 54,000 Georgians in East DeKalb and South Gwinnett counties. I currently serve on the Juvenile Justice, Interstate Cooperation, Judiciary Non-Civil, and as the ranking Democrat on the Small Business Development and Job Creation committee. I am a private securities lawyer by profession and a native of Atlanta, GA. Please visit my website YouTube, FacebookTwitter and slideshare account for more information on Georgia government.

 

 

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Children & Youth, Education, Health, Public Safety, Technology, Uncategorized

My 1st Legislative Hack-a-thon: Reflections and Reviews

This past weekend, Saturday, December 5th, about 40 individuals descended on ITT-Atlanta eager to be engaged in the legislative process. The purpose was to bring Georgians from all over the state to discuss legislation they would like to see proposed to address a specific issue. I titled it a “hack-a-thon” because hack-a-thons are associated in the technology industry with computer coding to solve a specific issue. Other industries haven taken this concept to make it more broadly apply to resolving any issue, not just technology issues.

Engagement is one of the pivotal roles I see as a legislator. As one participant told me “I’ve never been asked my opinion about what legislation I think is needed for this state.” That’s a sad statement and one I hope me and my colleagues under the Gold Dome can address. Engagement in the legislative process not only makes me a better, more accountable legislator but a better citizen and the state better. Indeed some of my BEST legislative ideas, like HB 6 (My HOPE bill) come from constituents involved in the legislative process and willing to communicate their thoughts to me.

The day started with hearing from 2 individuals that I consider to be experts in their field and great associates of mine—-Kenyette Barnes and Jason M. Shepard, who is a former agency lobbyist. We discussed how bills are REALLY passed under the Gold Dome, a day in the life of a lobbyists, addressed some of the reasons “lobbyists” get a bad name and what average citizens can do to lobby their legislator. The questions from the audience focused on getting involved in the committee process (yay!), how lobbyist made money (which we saved for in person discussions) and creative ways to communicate with law makers.

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After pictures, networking and hugs for the panelists (because they did an AWESOME job), the groups broke out as follows:

The topics were:

  • Child Support Reform, moderated by me and Attorney Kelli Hooper
  • School Discipline, moderated by Jennifer Young and Attorney Kathryn Boortz
  • Mental Health and the Police, moderated by Ashlyn Shockley and Attorney Raquel Hoover
  • Technology Skills & Jobs, moderated by A. Fitzgerald Breland and Theron Johnson
  • Treatment of the Homeless, moderated by Yasmin Neal and Attorney Emily Macheski-Preston

After spending 2.5 hours asking the tough questions to our attorneys and experts in each group, each group was tasked with making a 5 minute presentation to the whole group. We had lunch provided by Jewel Anderson and then reconvened to hear the ideas from the other groups and ask the tough questions.

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The Child Support Reform group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.

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The Technology & Jobs group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.

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The School Discipline group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.

 

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The Mental Health & The Police group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.

 

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The Homelessness group presents to all the participants. Here are the results of their deliberations.

So what are the next steps?

  1. Assess which pieces of proposed legislation are feasible by discussing with legislative counsel.
  2. Review the comments on how to improve from the Host committee for this year and the participants.
  3. Plan the 2016 Legislative Hack-a-thon by putting together the Host committee now.

I’m excited!

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2015 At Desk

I have been elected to the House of Representatives since 2011, representing over 54,000 Georgians in East DeKalb and South Gwinnett counties. I currently serve on the Juvenile Justice, Interstate Cooperation, Judiciary Non-Civil, and as the ranking Democrat on the Small Business Development and Job Creation committee. I am a private securities lawyer by profession and a native of Atlanta, GA. Please visit my website YouTube, FacebookTwitter and slideshare account for more information on Georgia government.

 

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Policy

HIV/AIDS in Georgia: Startling facts & call to action!

AIDs Day.jpg

*Friday at 10:30 am I will be moderating a panel on “HIV and Black Women” so please join me under the Gold Dome for an insightful discussion on this important issue.

By now you know that World Aids Day was Tuesday, December 1st. One of the sayings on the World Aids Day organization’s website is “Kisses and Hugs Don’t Spread HIV. Ignorance Does.” Isn’t that the truth? The statistics and survival rates of HIV/AIDS patients has evolved since the 80s but more must be done by way of education to young adults and the population in Georgia specifically.

So here are a few facts you may not have known about HIV and AIDS specifically as it relates to Georgia.

  • Infection rates are high in Georgia and metro Atlanta, with metro-Atlanta ranked 5th in the country for new cases of HIV/Aids
  • Of the 19 public health districts in Georgia, 9 had an HIV/AIDS case rate above the national average.
  • Men who have had sex with men still represent the largest group of people living with HIV in metro Atlanta at 55%.
  • 16% of HIV/AIDS cases result from injection drug use, and the proportion of AIDS in women has grown from 4% to 19% since 1987.
  • While African Americans make up only 29% of Georgia’s population, they represent 77% of all new HIV/AIDS cases and 63% of all existing HIV/AIDS cases in Atlanta were among this group.
  •  Only 43.6% of Georgia residents diagnosed with HIV in 2011 were retained in HIV care, giving it the seventh worst ranking for retention in HIV medical care when ranked among the 19 jurisdictions (18 states plus District of Columbia) that have data for comparison.
  • Among HIV-positive Georgia residents who received HIV care at least once in 2010, only 54.9% had achieved viral suppression. Also, Georgia had the second worst statistic for viral suppression when ranked among 19 jurisdictions that have data for comparison.
  • According to Grady Hospital, by the time patients are diagnosed in Atlanta, almost one third have advanced to clinical AIDS, which greatly decreases the chances of survival from the virus.
  • African American women account for 87% of all women with HIV/AIDS in Atlanta.
  • 50% of new HIV/AIDS infections in Georgia are occurring in young adults age 16-24 years old.
  • According to Grady Hospital, by the time patients are diagnosed in Atlanta, almost one third have advanced to clinical AIDS, which greatly decreases the chances of survival from the virus.
  • Only 43.6% of Georgia residents diagnosed with HIV in 2011 were retained in HIV care, giving it the seventh worst ranking for retention in HIV medical care when ranked among the 19 jurisdictions (18 states plus District of Columbia) that have data for comparison.
  • Among HIV-positive Georgia residents who received HIV care at least once in 2010, only 54.9% had achieved viral suppression. Also, Georgia had the second worst statistic for viral suppression when ranked among 19 jurisdictions that have data for comparison.
  • According to Emory University, black gay men in Atlanta have a 60% chance of contracting HIV before their 30th birthday (Emory University)

Source: Community Foundation for the Greater Atlanta and the Georgia Department of Public Health (last accessed December 8, 2015)

Learn these facts and more about how policy makers will address this issue starting tomorrow under the Gold Dome. Join me and others to tackle this tough issue.

Discussion Question: What can state policy makers do, individually or collectively, to raise more awareness about this epidemic in Georgia?

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2015 At Desk

I have been elected to the House of Representatives since 2011, representing over 54,000 Georgians in East DeKalb and South Gwinnett counties. I currently serve on the Juvenile Justice, Interstate Cooperation, Judiciary Non-Civil, and as the ranking Democrat on the Small Business Development and Job Creation committee. I am a private securities lawyer by profession and a native of Atlanta, GA. Please visit my website , YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and slideshare account for more information on Georgia government.

 

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