The board is made up of ordinary citizens, who volunteer their time and expertise to support the work of Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta & DeKalb.
Bo Gaiason, President
Classical guitarist Bo Gaiason is an Atlanta native. Bo currently works on the staff of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. “Serving on the Board of Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta & DeKalb is a way to embody the ideal that a community that neglects even one of its members is no community at all.”
Gillian Grable, Vice President
“Citizen advocacy gives our community a heartfelt experience of the beloved community that Martin Luther King, Jr. so fervently challenged us all to create. When people see their neighbors, co workers, friends, and family in relationships with folks who have been invisible, people experience an image of what is possible.”
Woodrow (Woody) A. Hall, Treasurer
Woody has been involved with Citizen Advocacy for more than 25 years. Having formerly served as Board Chair, Woody is now contributing his skills and expertise as Chair of the Fundraising and Finance Committees.
Les Klemperer, Secretary
Les is a former VP and Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for Delta Air Lines. He currently teaches contract law at Emory University.
Donald is an Atlanta native who works for the Atlanta City Council. He sees “servant-hood” as his highest calling. “I enjoy being a servant to the Public. My role as a Citizen Advocacy board member allows me to echo the voice of those often not heard.”
When he is not serving the Public, Donald can be found admiring Japanese Cherry Blossom trees. He is even growing his own.
Jacquee is an Atlanta-based business writer whose love for language launched a celebrated writing career. “I love digging in and uncovering our true selves through the art of storytelling.The same thing that draws me to a good story – a personal commitment to build community – is what attracted me to Citizen Advocacy. It is one of the ways I pay my rent for being here, by contributing to improving the human condition.”
Paula is a civil trial lawyer who began representing people with developmental disabilities and actively participating in the disability movement in 1990. She served on the Board of Citizen Advocacy some years ago and is pleased to return to the Board this year to support its work and mission.
“I make friends easily and have always had a lot of friends. They say I make them happy, but I say they make me happy. I have always wanted to teach people how to treat people with disabilities. I have taught my friends.” Betty has three suggestions: “1) Don’t pity me or people like me. 2) Don’t talk loud because you think all people with disabilities are deaf. Ask first. 3) Talk to the person with a disability, not through another person.”
Russell is a local business owner and has been in a citizen advocacy relationship with Bill Jackson since 2012. “Citizen Advocacy is practical and direct. Citizen Advocacy builds community by connecting people at the most basic and fundamental level, one on one. That’s what makes it work, face to face, one on one.”
“Dr. King said, ‘It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all.’ I believe that this statement , this sentiment is at the heart of my understanding and conviction for building community with Citizen Advocacy. It really speaks to the golden rules that I was taught as a child that have become the overarching creeds that I live by today; Do unto others and love one another. Life is too much for any of us to do without others walking with and beside us in friendship and love and fighting the good fight…for ourselves and for each other.”
Ryan is the cofounder of Traktion a local digital marketing firm, and lives in Decatur with his wife and two young boys. Citizen Advocacy “is an opportunity to help shine light onto circumstances too often left in the darkness. It’s positive change, one person at a time, for both the one who is being advocated for, as well the advocate. There’s something special about working to help expand this type of action in our community.”