Aundrea Johnson would recite the Pledge of Allegiance at public functions when most three-year-olds were still learning their ABCs.
Now, at 10, the fifth grader is already a seasoned community activist. She sought the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton in 2016, participates in community rallies and attends Jack and Jill, which teaches leadership skills to black children.
Aundrea’s activism is a family affair, passed down through her grandmother, Pat Pullar, and her mother, Sukari Johnson. Pullar, who currently serves on the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration, has been involved in political and social causes for more than 50 years, while Johnson chairs the Clayton County Democratic Party.
Both Pullar and Johnson have been active for decades in their local and state Democratic parties. They said getting involved in the local community is more important than ever as the country heads towards midterm elections following the conclusion of the 2020 census and subsequent parliamentary and legislative redistricting.
But they encountered many people who were uninformed or uninformed about political processes, such as the census and redistricting. “We had to explain why the census was important,” Johnson said. Taken every decade, it determines how billions of federal dollars are allocated and how congressional and state legislative maps are redrawn.
In the room
In his 50 years of activism, Pullar has often been in the room for key policy decisions, like the time a group of prominent black media executives in New York came together to raise money for the first Presidential candidacy of Jesse Jackson in 1984.
“Jesse Jackson was writing this stuff on a yellow block that I typed on my Selectric typewriter,” Pullar said. Atlanta Civic Circle. “During his campaign, I raised $250 to five dollars at a time in the Bronx.”
Pullar has worked or consulted on campaigns for some big names in Georgia and American politics: former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond’s successful past bids for Commissioner of work ; and the successful campaigns of the late David Poythress as Secretary of State and Commissioner of Labour.
She worked on the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, serving as Georgia’s delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Pullar was also one of the legions of people who worked to bring the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta.
“I always felt like I had to stay involved,” Pullar said. She also brought her teenage daughter, Johnson, to her various duties, including a memorable encounter with Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1990s.
“I’ve been trolling her for a while,” Pullar joked.
Like most teenagers forced to follow a parent, Johnson was initially uninterested. “I was one of those kids who didn’t want to go. She was dragging me, and I was like no,” Johnson said. Atlanta Civic Circle.
“But I would go with her to those meetings and then I would do some advocacy work,” she added. “When she started doing campaigns, I started volunteering.”
It wasn’t until Johnson went to Tuskegee University, a historically black university, in 1997 that the importance of activism was realized. [Black people] went through,” she said.
“The loop got a little fuller for me. I learned things about serving and returning, and I started to make connections,” Johnson said. “The only way to achieve this is through political work, through elected officials. You can’t have one without the other.
Learning how American politics and government work begins at home, the two men said. Johnson passes the torch to Aundrea and her seven-year-old son Alex. “She’s always ready to get up and talk,” Johnson said of her daughter, who honed her public speaking skills through Jack and Jill.
“When I ask her out, she will come. She thinks it’s good to go out, say hello and talk to people.
Last name: Pat Pullard
Current title: Member of the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration.
Past organizations/activities: Pullar has been active in political campaigns, social welfare organizations and other community groups in New York and Georgia for more than 50 years. In 1970, she began registering people to vote while a freshman at the City University of New York in Manhattan.
From there, she served as vice president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) in the East Bronx; worked on Jesse Jackson’s first presidential campaign in 1984; worked on the mayoral campaign of the late David Dinkins in 1989; co-founded the DeKalb County chapter of NCNW in 1988 and served as Deputy Director of the Georgia Democratic Party from 2003 to 2007
Why is civic engagement important to you? “Otherwise, how will the people coming behind you know what to pay attention to? How will my child, and my child’s children, and their children know if I’m not leaving some kind of footprint to be engaged and involved?
Last name: Sukari Johnson
Current title: Chairman of the Clayton County Democratic Party and Legislative Chairman of the Lake Spivey chapter of Jack and Jill, a national leadership training organization for African American children.
Past organizations/activities: DeKalb County Branch of the NAACP, NCNW, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Why is civic engagement important to you? “It’s for the things I’m most passionate about, whether it’s helping youth, homelessness or jobs. All of these things affect our everyday lives, so it’s important for me to get involved.. Not only can I help my own family, but also the community.
Last name: Audrea Johnson
current title: Fourth-grader and honor roll student at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough.
Past organizations/activities: Go door to door to get the vote, attend political rallies, take part in Jack and Jill.
Want to involve your family more in the community? Consider these tips.
PULLAR-JOHNSON TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR FAMILY CIVICLY ACTIVE
- When you read an interesting article or learn something new, share it with your spouse and children.
- Lead by example. When you vote, bring your children and grandchildren. Likewise, bring them along when you knock on doors, make calls, and participate in other civic activities, so they can see you in action. “They have to be able to see, and then at some point in their life I guarantee it will come back to them,” Johnson said.
- Meet people where they are. Determine their hot button problem and match the policy with that problem. “A lot of people don’t see the connectivity,” Johnson said. “Why should I vote? Why should I help? How does this affect me?”
- Engage young people safely through social media, where many find their news and activities.