Women. Power. Peace.

A Successful 13th Annual REAL State of the Union!

How can we stop the root causes of systemic and environmental violence?

Over 100 guests gathered at Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Southwest Atlanta on February 5, 2015 for The REAL State of the Union. Jay Bookman, author and Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist and blogger addressed systemic violence and the fear mongering in society that drives society. Janice Mathis' - local attorney, Vice President of the Citizenship Education Fund component of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and radio personality - response eloquently wove humor with wisdom, elucidating the disparities between the wealthy & the poor and the disproportionate political and economic advantage held by monopolies.

This year we also introduced a young rising star of the BLACKLIVESMATTER movement, Aurielle 'Elle' Marie Lucier, a powerhouse organizer of #ItsBiggerThanYou who captured our hearts and mesmerized us with her passion. She spoke on the disillusionment of younger generations with democracy in America today, the fight against state-sanctioned violence upon black youth, and the new radical nonviolence movement being eveloped and led by a young, diverse leadership.

Local artist, Brittany Curry captured the speakers message by creating live images as the presenters spoke. To see her images and photos from the event, click here.

A huge thanks goes out to all who contributed and special thanks to Annie Laura Stephens and the Ben Hill United Methodist Church,  Jay Bookman, Janice Mathis, Aurielle Marie Lucier, SCLC Women volunteers, Andie Sweetman, Erin Linley, Georgia WAND Board of Directors, for working hard to make this event a success!

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This year Georgia WAND has been fortunate enough to once again feature two of Atlanta's favorite journalists Jay Bookman (Columnist and blogger at the Atlanta Journal Constitution) and Janice Mathis (Vice President for Legal affairs for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Regional Office in Atlanta), and special guest responder, Aurielle Marie Lucier, Founder & Executive Organizer of #ItsBiggerThanYou, and featured in Creative Loafing's Top 20 People to Watch in 2015. Special artistic visual facilitation provided by Brittany Curry of Milledgeville, GA.

*This original Georgia WAND event began in February of 2003 as the U.S. was threatening an attack on the people of Iraq. Atlanta's peace and justice community was frustrated, and few journalists were challenging the Bush's administration's march to war. Jay Bookman, in his groundbreaking Atlanta-Journal Constition article, Bush's Real Goal in Iraq, revealed the neo-conservative plan, "The Project for the New American Century." Georgia WAND invited Jay to speak and engage the public at Horizon Theater in Little 5 Points, where a standing room only crowd listened and responded to this first REAL State of the Union. The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery was invited to give the response, and he did so for many years, followed by Andisheh Nouraee, from Creative Loafing, and Janice Mathis.

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