Raise Your Voice for Refugees at the New Americans Celebration!

We are just two short days away from the New Americans Celebration at the Georgia Capitol! We are very excited at the prospect of meeting with our elected officials to share the amazing contributions refugees make to our state.

Visiting the Capitol to talk to your elected officials can be quite daunting if you have never experienced it before. But it can also be a lot of fun! You may not know your elected officials personally, and that's okay! It's very easy to get to know your elected officials, especially on the local level. All you need to do is reach out and contact them.

Some of you may be thinking, "What? Contact them? I'm not important. They'll never listen to me!"

Actually, yes they will. Because you are a constituent. If you are registered to vote, and if you voted for your representatives, then you hired them. If you didn't vote for them, they'd like you to vote for them to get rehired at the next elected. Your elected officials work for you, and they will listen to you.

Here are some steps to help you prepare for this week's New Americans Celebration:

1) Click here to register for the New Americans Celebration at the Capitol.

2) If you don't know your Georgia Senator or Representative, visit Project Vote Smart. Enter your full address to get all the information you need. The organizers of New Americans Day will also look up this information for you, but Vote Smart is a great tool to give you a head start.

3) After you locate the names of your State Representative and State Senator, go to www.legis.ga.gov to get their official contact information and office location.

4) Send them an email or give their office a call. This should be done today or Tuesday. Introduce yourself as a constituent and tell them that you'll be at the Capitol on Wednesday for the New Americans Breakfast. Inform them that they should receive a hard-copy invitation on Tuesday. The Breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. for the legislators and is in room 216 of the Capitol. Let them know that you would like to meet them sometime that morning if they are available. If you're comfortable, you can continue your email or phone call by sharing why you are coming and why you personally are passionate about New Americans and Refugee Resettlement.

If you're unsure what to say, here's a sample email message that you can use:

"Dear [Senator or Representative's Name],

My name is [Insert Name] and I am a constituent in [insert city]. I am emailing you to let you know that I will be at the Capitol this Wednesday, February 5th in the morning. I'll be attending the New Americans Celebration and Breakfast with Lutheran Services of Georgia and the Coalition of Refugee Services Agencies. You should receive a hard-copy invitation to the breakfast on Tuesday, February 4th. The Breakfast is for all legislators and will be held in room 216 of the Capitol beginning at 8 a.m. I will be participating in this event all morning and I would love the opportunity to meet with you. I believe that refugees and new Americans are an asset to our state and contribute many great things to our communities.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to meet you on Wednesday.

[Your Name]"

These steps should only take 10-15 minutes to complete and are a great way to get prepared for Wednesday. Our goal is to reach as many of Georgia's legislators as possible, and we can't do it without the help of concerned Georgia residents like you.

For more information and an agenda for the New Americans Celebration, click here.

See you on Wednesday!

-Emily Laney, Atlanta Program Manger for Refugee Services-