Note: This information is from the GALEO website, please click here to view the page.
Presentations: 2011.01.30; 2011.11.13
Due to his solid history of advocating for Latino rights, Jerry Gonzalez was chosen to serve as the first executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. At GALEO he is charged with developing a legislative agenda and directing programs that promote the involvement of the Latino/Hispanic community in the legislative process. Before serving as the GALEO executive director, Gonzalez worked as a political campaign consultant and fundraiser for State Senator Sam Zamarripa (SD-36). In his fundraising capacities, he raised more than $50,000 in approximately one month for Senator Zamarripa, making Zamarripa the top Democratic State Senator in fundraising for the first contribution disclosure period in 2003.
Prior to working for Senator Zamarripa, Gonzalez was the legislative policy analyst for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund's Atlanta Regional Office. In his post, he was responsible for advocating legislation which adequately addressed the needs of the growing Southeast Latino population. Gonzalez was instrumental in the formation of the Georgians for Safer Roads Coalition, a group that advocated for expanded access to driver's licenses regardless of immigration status. Gonzalez served as a key advocate for Latino rights during the 2003 Georgia legislative session by addressing the driver's license issue, opposing the Confederate Battle Emblem on the flag referendum, supporting interpreters for victims of domestic violence, and working towards greater access to voting for all Latino citizens. Gonzalez was also a part of a coalition to address racial profiling in Georgia and worked with legislators to reintroduce racial profiling legislation.
Gonzalez is a founder and the immediate past president of the Georgia Hispanic Network, Inc., a 501(c) 6 nonprofit professional development and networking organization initiated in 2001 for Hispanic professionals. Gonzalez, a Laredo, TX native, moved to Atlanta in 1996 for a position as a Field Support Engineer for Rockwell Automation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During that time, he was a member of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay and lesbian civil rights organization. Through that involvement, he played a critical role in implementing a corporate non-discrimination policy at Rockwell that included sexual orientation.
Gonzalez's other civil rights advocacy has included presenting lectures on "The State of the Workplace for Gay and Lesbian Americans" at the National Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers' Symposium in Washington D.C. and Fresno, California. He is also a member of Georgia Equality.
Gonzalez has a history of political activism. As a previous member of the DeKalb County Democratic Party, he was the 2nd Vice Chair overseeing the Election Procedures, Campaign Research, and Voter Registration Committees. For his dedication to these committees, he was honored with the party's Chairman's Award in 2001. In addition, he was the only Hispanic to represent the Georgia delegation at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, CA.
Gonzalez received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1995. In May 2005, he completed his Master of Public Administration with a Nonprofit Administration emphasis at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University. On March 11th, 2003, the Andrew Young School recognized Gonzalez’s outstanding academic achievement by inducting him into the Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration. While at Texas A&M, he was actively involved with the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES), where he initiated a community outreach program, which contacted more than 1,600 pre-college students to promote careers in science and engineering. Upon graduation, Gonzalez served on the MAES National Board of Directors as a Regional Vice President from 1995 until 1999. At Texas A&M University, he was a member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band (clarinet) and the Corps of Cadets. He was also a member of the Ross Volunteer Company, which served as the Honor Guard for the Governor of Texas, Ann Richards.
Jerry lives in Atlanta with his life partner and spouse of thirteen years, Ray, an established and practicing pediatrician, and their two dogs, Jake & Jenny.
- Leadership Georgia, Class of 2010
- May 4, 2009: Jerry Gonzalez was honored as a 2009 Honorary Co-Chair for the 25th Anniversary Sweet Auburn Springfest at the Legends, Heroes & Heroines Awards Luncheon.
- April 16, 2009: At MALDEF’s 8th Annual Atlanta Awards Dinner, Jerry Gonzalez was honored with the MALDEF Community Service Award.
- January 2009: Georgia Trend Magazine named Jerry Gonzalez on of Georgia's Notables for 2009.
- August 2008: Jerry Gonzalez participated on a Project Interchange trip to Israel with the American Jewish Committee.
- July 2008: Jerry Gonzalez was named as a Community Board Member, or Trustee, to the Sapelo Foundation.
- April 24, 2008: Latin American Association recognized Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO, at the 19th Annual Compañeros Awards Luncheon with the Outstanding Community Leadership, Service and Commitment Award
- January 2008: Georgia Trend Magazine again named Jerry Gonzalez on of Georgia's 100 Most Influential Georgians.
- Regional Leadership Institute, September 2007
- March 3, 2007: At the Annual Conference of Georgia TESOL, Jerry Gonzalez was honored with the Public Service Award for the service to benefit English language learners and the international community in Georgia.
- January 2007: Georgia Trend Magazine named Jerry Gonzalez on of Georgia's 100 Most Influential Georgians.
- Leadership Atlanta, Class of 2005
- October 8, 2004: Atlanta Business Chronicle's Up and Comers, Under 40 and Rising, 50 of Atlanta's Most Promising Young Stars
- Atlanta Latino named Jerry Gonzalez "Person of the Year" for 2004.