Rep. Pedro Marin is calling for an end to racial profiling, vowing to seek a legislative solution as several groups worry an upcoming federal program at the county jail will stir up controversy.
"In a country where our president is African-American and the newest Supreme Court Justice is Latina, we can no longer tolerate practices such as Driving While Black or Driving While Brown," Marin said in a press release. "I understand the challenges law enforcement officials face to protect and serve citizens, but racial profiling is not a solution to fighting crime. It only creates more resentment and mistrust.
Marin, who is the only Latino Democrat in the Georgia General Assembly, is from Puerto Rico.
He attended a recent forum sponsored by ABLE, Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment, and participated in a silent prayer at the jail Saturday.
In addition to pushing for two bills in the state Legislature targeting racial profiling, Marin said he hoped President Barack Obama would work on immigration reform at the federal level.
"If we continue to rely on state and local governments to establish policy specific to immigrants, the challenges we now face will continue to escalate and worsen," he said. "Immigrants are not our enemies and should not be treated as such. Federal immigration reform must become a priority for the Administration."
Earlier this month, Marin celebrated the confirmation and swearing in of new Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor.
"Words escape me at this moment," he said Aug. 7. "As an American, Latino and public servant I am so proud to have witnessed this historic event. There are 40 million Latinos rejoicing in the United States because we have moved one step closer to truly becoming a part of this country that we love."
Marin, who lives in Duluth, said Sotomayor's accomplishment is a testament to the human spirit and the embodiment of the American dream.
"With the confirmation of Judge Sotomayor, there are thousands of young people who now realize that the impossible can become reality," Marin said.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.