If you're wondering why there's a picture of tomatoes at the top of this newsletter, I'll explain at the bottom of this note.
Ok, a lot is happening this week, so let’s get started.
Let that sink in.
Six thousand. Three hundred. Ninety one. Children. Lost a parent, or caregiver, in their home.
For Black and Hispanic children, it’s been even worse. Nationally, they’ve lost caregivers at 2.5 times the rate of white children, and Asian children have lost caregivers at 1.6% the rate of white children. The findings mirror other studies documenting the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had among Black and immigrant communities. To learn more, read this article from Georgia Public Broadcasting.
THE VOTE: Voting Materials in Gwinnett County to be translated into 4 Asian languages: President Biden was in Atlanta yesterday where he spoke about the need to change filibuster rules, to ensure the passage of new voter protection legislation. Vice President Harris made a point of criticizing Georgia’s new voting law SB 202, which has been challenged by multiple civil rights organizations for threatening voter rights.
But there have been some developments on expanding voting access - Gwinnett commissioners approved a budget that would fund the translation of voting materials into Korean, Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. It’s a win for immigrant centered civic engagement organizations, who have emphasized the role growing Asian communities are playing in swing districts. Read more here and check out this WABE interview with Asian American Advancing Justice - Atlanta’s Policy Director Lavita Tuff, about why they believe language access is so crucial to voting rights.
Speaking of Asian communities in Gwinnett: I interviewed Sang Yeon Lee, President of Atlanta K, an online Korean news publication with offices in Duluth and Suwanee, about their latest investigation into former Korean community leadership’s use of federal COVID funds. Read: The Investigator: how one man is breaking news for Atlanta's Korean community.
Highlighting survivor stories in the South Asian community: Khabar magazine - the most widely read community magazine for Indian Americans in Atlanta - issued a survey this past fall and found that 39 percent of their readers have witnessed domestic violence within their extended families. Like all things - the pandemic has exacerbated what already was a crisis. Pooja Garg’s article highlights the stories of survivors who found the support they needed to change their situation. Read their stories here.
Resources & Events
COVID Vaccines: Still need to get vaccinated? The Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) is hosting a vaccine clinic today at the Santa Fe Mall in Duluth. Anyone who receives their first or second dose and completes a short survey will receive a $50 gift card. Today, January 12th from 1pm to 5pm at 3750 Venture Drive, Duluth, GA 30096. More info here.
CPACS is also hosting a vaccination drive this weekend at their Chamblee office. Whether you receive your first dose, second dose, or a booster - you will receive a $100 gift card. This Saturday, January 15th, from 2pm to 5pm, at 3510 Shallowford Road. More info here.
Food Distributions: Welcoming Atlanta is hosting food drives in the city today and tomorrow. No documentation/ID required, but anyone coming must be double masked or be wearing an N95 or K95. Food pickups are today, January 12th and tomorrow, January 13th here. Info on food pick up times and locations here.
Career Workshop: ICNA Relief Georgia is hosting a workshop with Omnia Abdel Gawad, an executive, life and grief coach. She’ll be working with participants on developing career goals and creating action plans to implement their goals. This Saturday, January 15th, 1pm to 3pm, at Masjid al Momineen, 837 N Indian Creek Dr, Clarkston, GA 30021. More info here.
This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Ashwin Kattula, an IT specialist turned full time farmer who lives in Gainesville. Kattula lived in Cumming for several years before deciding to move to Gainesville, to live on a 10 acre plot of land he had bought with the dream of growing his own food and living off the land.
What started as a passion project, (“me and my wife were very interested in growing different vegetables and plants, and did that wherever we were we did that”) has now turned into Kattula Family Farms - which now ships seeds to home gardeners in “all 50 states, plus Canada,” has its own farm stand, and works closely with farmers across the ocean to source seeds. The farm’s specialty? “Desi vegetables.” They grow Indian tomatoes (that's the photo at the top!), okra, bitter melon (warning: it is an acquired taste!), chilis, bell peppers, and eggplant (“five different types, all Indian”.) He’s had success with growing Indian vegetables because, he says, the weather here isn’t too dissimilar from South India, where he grew up, “Atlanta weather is pretty close to tropical weather,” he said, "barring December through March."
The farm is closed now, but I’ll definitely be making a trip out there when the weather warms up.
Ok, that was a long newsletter.
Thanks for reading.
Sending you good, marigold-y vibes!
Top photo: Indian tomatoes grown at Kattula Family Farms in Gainesville. Photo Credit: Kattula Family Farms.