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World Press Freedom Day: Atlanta, GA

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World Press Freedom Day 2019: Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia kicks off its first annual celebration of World Press Freedom Day this year on Thursday, May 2nd!

Joining with PEN America, the Atlanta Press Club, the American Constitution Society Georgia Lawyer Chapter, the ACLU of Georgia, and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation are bringing together writers, advocates, civic leaders, lawmakers, and any one of us who believes a free press is crucial to our democracy to collectively recognize this day. 

On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, we are honored that
Stacey Abrams will be our Keynote Speaker

Immediately following her keynote address, we will hold a panel, moderated by journalist Greg Bluestein, with leading state officials and members of the media including:

Johnita Due, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of CNN
Representative David Dreyer, District 59, Georgia House of Representatives
Mariela Romero, Regional Community Empowerment Director, Univision

They will be discussing the implications of press freedom and the First Amendment in Georgia, at a time when we must defend local news and journalists as they support our democratic process and support civic participation. This event is particularly timely in light of the recent introduction of a highly problematic “Ethics in Journalism” bill in the Georgia Legislature (read our response to it here).

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Nora Benavidez or Katie Zanecchia.

This event is SOLD OUT!

Want to spread the word? Download the PEN America Press Freedom Manifesto and visit our digital activation toolkit!

Stacey Abrams PhotoStacey Abrams is a New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO and political leader. After serving for eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, in 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, when she won more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. Abrams was the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States. After witnessing the gross mismanagement of the 2018 election by the Secretary of State’s office, Abrams launched Fair Fight to ensure every Georgian has a voice in our election system. Over the course of her career, Abrams has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels. She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the 2012 recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, and a current member of the Board of Directors for the Center for American Progress. Abrams has also written eight romantic suspense novels under the pen name Salena Montgomery, in addition to Lead from the Outside, formerly Minority Leader, a guidebook on making real change.

Abrams received degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School. She and her five siblings grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi and were raised in Georgia.

Greg Bluestein PhotoGreg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor’s office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper in June 2012 after spending seven years with the Atlanta bureau of The Associated Press, where he covered a range of beats that included politics and legal affairs. He also contributes to the AJC’s Political Insider blog. He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and political science and lives with his wife and two daughters in Dunwoody.

David Dreyer PhotoDavid Dreyer is the State Representative for House District 59, which is comprised of Southeast Atlanta, Hapeville, and East Point. David serves on the Judiciary, Higher Education, and Science and Technology Committees. David graduated from Georgia State University where he was involved in various student groups, including founding the Young Democrats and working with an environmental and homeless advocacy group. David received the student leadership award from his graduating class. After attending Georgia State, David graduated from Emory Law, where he remained committed to public service, serving as student body president and working on several campaigns. One focus of David’s studies was constitutional law and voter protection, areas that remain in the forefront of his career. David was admitted to the State Bar in 2004, and David is a founding attorney with Dreyer Sterling, representing individuals and companies in courts throughout Georgia. David has authored legislation to ban the shackling of pregnant women, foster affordable housing, expand voting rights, and protect the environment. David has been a consistent advocate for bridging the Medicaid Gap and providing access to healthcare to all Georgians.

Johnita Due PhotoJohnita P. Due is vice president and assistant general counsel of CNN. Due joined CNN in 2003 and is based in the network’s headquarters in Atlanta. Due served as CNN’s chief diversity advisor for almost a decade. She recently completed her tenure as co-chair of Black Professionals@Turner. Due serves as a board member of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights where she recently led the search for its new CEO at the request of The Honorable Shirley Franklin. She is also on the board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and is president-elect of the board of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta. She is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Communications Law and a member of the Buckhead Atlanta chapter of Jack and Jill. Previously, she was a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a board member of Vox Teen Communications in Atlanta. Due is a 2008 McCormick Tribune Fellow and an alumna of the Leadership Atlanta class of 2008. Due earned her law degree from Cornell Law School, specializing in international legal affairs. 

Mariela Romero PhotoMariela Romero is Univision Communications Regional Community Empowerment Director in Philadelphia, Raleigh and Atlanta and is anchor and producer of news magazine Conexión Fin de Semana in all three markets. Romero has interviewed former President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jimmy Carter, Civil Rights leader and Presidential Medal of Freedom Awardee, Reverend C.T. Vivian, and American labor leader Dolores Huerta among other distinguished public figures. Mariela has received 21 Emmy Awards from the Academy of Television Arts – South East region – and in 2018 was named by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce one of the 50 most influential Latinos in the State. In 2019 she was awarded the Olga C. de Goizueta Award by The Latin American Association. Mariela holds a degree in Journalism from Universidad Católica Argentina as well as a degree in Social Communications from Universidad de Belgrano. She also studied TV Broadcasting and Production in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is a native of Caracas, Venezuela.