Links Day at the Capitol 2013 brings 100 women to meet with their legislators
House Bill #512 and Senate Bill #101 declared an enigma!
Links Day at the Georgia Capitol 2013 took place on March 26 with members of The Links, Incorporated from 15 Georgia chapters located in Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Fort Valley, LaGrange, Macon and Savannah attending this full day of activities.
Georgia legislators who are members of The Links, Incorporated – Senator Freddie Powell Sims (Albany) and Representative Carolyn Hugley (Columbus) – also served as honorary chairs of the event and welcomed the group of 100 plus women to the Georgia Capitol.
A lively panel dialogue devoted to the topic of “Closing the Achievement Gap in Education; Combating Childhood Obesity, and S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)” kicked off the discussions for the day. Moderated by Donna Lowery, WXIA TV (NBC), panelists included Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College; Erroll Davis, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools; Commissioner Gary Black, Georgia Department of Agriculture; and Georgia Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan.
Discussing the Spelman College Wellness Revolution and the positive impact this program is making on Spelman women, Dr. Tatum thanked the Georgia Links for inviting her to participate on the panel and for recognizing the work being done at Spelman College around wellness literacy. “More importantly, I want to thank The Links for their advocacy in support of Georgia’s youth, especially as it relates to gun safety in our schools and colleges, and issues impacting student health,” said Dr. Tatum.
Superintendent Davis reminded the audience that he was in the “20th month of his 90-day-job” and encouraged The Links to participate in Atlanta Public School’s “Project For A Day”. “We cannot blame the workers for the failures in our schools,” Davis said, and quickly added, “I must tell you that, in my opinion, House Bill #512 is an enigma.”
Trailblazer Awards were given to Dr. Tatum for her leadership in forging a health and wellness revolution at Spelman and Vanetta Keys, founder of C.H.O.I.C.E.S. (The Center Helping Obesity In Children End Successfully, Inc.) for her work to promote healthy lifestyles for children. The Public Service Award was later presented to State Senator Horacena Tate for her many years of advocating for early childhood education in Georgia.
In addition to those Georgia legislators who were on the program, other legislators who met with members of The Links, Incorporated during their visit included Representatives Dee Dawkins-Haigler (Chair of the Black Caucus), Calvin Smyre (“Dean” of the Legislators), Craig Gordon (Savannah), Quincy Murphy (Augusta), LaDawn Jones (South Fulton County), and Ernest Smith (Augusta).
Almost every panelist and legislator who spoke at Links Day at the Capitol took time to mention House Bill #512 and Senate Bill #101 which would allow school boards to designate an administrator who can carry a gun and allow gun owners to carry firearms into bars, onto college campuses and into houses of worship. Members of The Links were challenged to address these and other critical issues facing the legislators when meeting with their individual legislators throughout the state.
“I am delighted that so many professional woman from all across the state took the time to express their love and concern for children,” said Harriette Watkins, a member of the Magnolia Chapter of The Links, who chaired Georgia Links Day at the Capitol 2013. “After all, if our children are not well – physically, mentally, or emotionally – nothing else really matters. It’s all about our children!”
The Links, Incorporated, founded in 1946, is an international organization consisting of 12,000 plus women committed to leadership, friendship and service. The 274 chapters located throughout the United States have positively impacted the lives of children and families globally since the organization’s inception. Links Day at the Capitol is a project of the 77 chapters in the Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated. The members of this organization hope to have an impact on their state capitols and flex the collective organizational strength and influence of their membership.