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Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta Joins Interfaith Efforts at Capitol to End Mass Incarceration

Feb 25, 2020

The Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta will gather Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 to urge Georgia legislators to pass a hate crimes bill.

The two groups join a diverse coalition of more than 30 organizations from around the state supporting passage of H.B 426, a comprehensive hate crimes bill would allow Georgia to take a step in the right direction of fighting hate.

The day also includes presentations from the Anti Defamation League on the need for a bill such as H.B 426. A panel of state legislators will address the issue and take questions from those attending the event to be held at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located one block from the Georgia State Capitol.

The Georgia House will recognize the newly formed Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center, a statewide coalition of faith groups formed to address issues of faith being addressed by local and state government.



Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 43 MLK Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303

8 a.m. – Breakfast/Registration
8:35 a.m. – Legislative panel
9:15 a.m. – Hate crimes talking points
9:20 a.m. – How to engage with legislators
9:45 a.m. – Leave for Capitol

Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334

9:55 a.m. – House Resolution on Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center (Seating in House Gallery)
10:10 a.m. – Lobby Legislators
Noon – Lunch in Room 123
1:30 p.m. – Group photo with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan
2 p.m. – JCRC & GIPPC Panel in Room 216
3:30 p.m. – adjourn

Legislative Panel Biographies

Moderator: Dave Schechter, Atlanta Jewish Times

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist who writes freelance for the Atlanta Jewish Times, including a bi-weekly column as well as long-form articles. He writes about issues of national and international importance.

Prior to beginning his work with the Atlanta Jewish Times in 2015, Dave was the Senior National Editor for CNN, where he worked for nearly 30 years. He gained renown for his coverage of stories such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2008 elections. Dave graduated from Grinnell College and holds a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University.


Representative Mike Wilensky

Mike Wilensky represents District 79 in the Georgia House of Representatives. Rep. Wilensky serves on the following committees: Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight, Intragovernmental Coordination, and Judiciary. Rep. Wilensky is one of Georgia’s premier wrongful death and serious injury lawyers, with Martindale-Hubbell giving him the highest rating of A.V. Rated Preeminent Attorney. Rep. Wilensky was selected for two consecutive years to be a member of The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 and was recognized three times by the American Society of Legal Advocates with a Top 40 Litigation Lawyer Under 40 award. Georgia Trend magazine has named him Legal Elite on five occasions.

Rep. Wilensky graduated from the University of Georgia and holds a J.D. from the University of Maryland. His wife Amy is also a graduate of the University of Georgia and she has a master’s of education in communication sciences and disorders from Georgia State University. Rep. Wilensky and Amy have two daughters.

Senator Elena Parent

Elena Parent represents District 42 in the Georgia State Senate. Sen. Parent is the Vice Chairman of Campaigns and Fundraising, Vice Chair of the Senate DeKalb Delegation, Vice Chair of the Working Families Legislative Caucus, and Deputy Whip for the Minority Caucus. Sen. Parent serves on four committees: Education and Youth, Judiciary, Government Oversight, and Special Judiciary (the latter two committees she also serves as secretary). Sen. Parent began her career as a litigation attorney before serving as a state representative for District 81 from 2011-2012. She then became Executive Director of Georgia Watch, the state’s leading consumer rights non-profit.

Sen. Parent graduated from the University of Virginia, where she also earned her J.D. She is married to Briley Brisendine and they are active in their community. Sen. Parent and Briley have two sons, Brooks and Reid.

Senator Brandon Beach

Brandon Beach represents District 21 in the Georgia State Senate. Sen. Beach is the chairman of the transportation committee and serves as a member on these other committees: administrative affairs, economic development and tourism, higher education, MARTOC, and rules. Senator Beach also serves as President and CEO of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, where he has been able to help the area grow and prosper. As a member of the board of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, Chairman of the P3 Committee, and founder of the North Fulton Community Improvement District, Sen. Beach has helped bring important transportation and infrastructure projects to the North Fulton region.

Sen. Beach graduated from Louisiana State University and holds an MBA from Centenary College. He is also a graduate of the Regional Leadership Institute. Sen. Beach and his wife Shuntel have two children and have lived in Alpharetta for the past 24 years.

About The Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center

Board of Directors

Leslie Anderson, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta
Hilton M. Austin, Jr., Advocacy Director, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Southeastern Synod
Rabbi Peter Berg, The Temple, Atlanta
Ann Cramer, Senior Consultant, Coxe Curry and Associates
Robert B. Currey, Founder, Curry & Co.
Chester J. Fontenot Jr., Ph.D., Baptist Professor of English and Director of Africana Studies, Mercer University, Macon
Soumaya Khalifa, CEO, Muslim Speakers Bureau of Atlanta
Howard Mosby, Senior Vice President, Grady Healthcare System, Atlanta
David Marmins, Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory
Brenda Joyce Smith, Candler School of Theology

Rev. Taryn Strauss, Pastor, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta
Raphael Warnock, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta
The Right Reverend Robert C. Wright, Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta