Friday, January 28, 2022

Family clings to prayers as Paulding County 9th grader fights for her life

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“By the time the car saw Kendall and she saw the car, it was too late,” Thomas told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Georgia State Patrol continues to investigate the crash.

Kendall was taken by ambulance to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, where she underwent two emergency surgeries for a fractured skull. Somehow, she didn’t break any bones in her chest or back, her family said. But late Thursday, she remained unconscious.

“As bad as we want her to wake up now, I want her to wake up when it’s time,” her mother, Shanna, said Thursday afternoon.

Kendall’s parents have been with her since learning she was injured. But a recent positive coronavirus test has prevented Shanna Thomas from going inside the hospital, so she’s been forced to stay outside. It hasn’t stopped her from talking to her daughter, she said.

Caption

Kendall Thomas was in critical condition after being hit by a car on campus. She underwent two emergency surgeries at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.

Credit: Family photo

Kendall Thomas was in critical condition after being hit by a car on campus. She underwent two emergency surgeries at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.
caption arrowCaption

Kendall Thomas was in critical condition after being hit by a car on campus. She underwent two emergency surgeries at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

“I tell her, ‘Wake up. Wake up when you’re ready,’” Shanna Thomas said. “I know you can hear me.”

Doctors have told Kendall’s parents it’s now a waiting game as her body tries to heal from the trauma. It’s an agonizing wait for the family.

Late Monday, Kendall had done her best to stay awake to watch the Georgia Bulldogs win the national championship game, her father said. Late last month, the family went to an Atlanta Falcons game. While in the Dirty Birds Nest, Kendall held a winning ticket for a ball signed by Younghoe Koo, the Falcons kicker and her favorite player, her dad said.

Now, the family is relying on prayers and support from their community. A sign at the school says #PrayForKendall and a GoFundMe page has raised more than $30,000. The Thomas family has used social media to keep the North Paulding community updated.

“I believe that’s why she’s still here because their prayers are so specific and they know what they are praying for,” Shanna Thomas said.

In a Facebook post, Thomas encouraged those prayers to continue.

“Keep praying …she feels them … we need them,” she said.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Fugitive Unit was requested to assist the Cobb County Sheriff's Fugitive Unit and the U.S....

Posted by Douglas County Sheriff's Office (Georgia) on Wednesday, January 12, 2022

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"}],"display_date":"2022-01-12T22:59:43.943Z","headlines":{"basic":"2nd suspect arrested in 2020 homicide near Austell"},"first_publish_date":"2022-01-12T22:59:43.943Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news","parent":{"default":"https://www.ajc.com/"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"News","description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","_id":"/news","additional_properties":{"original":{"parent":{"AmpNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","default":"https://www.ajc.com/","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","LoggedOutMenu":null,"MainMenuRedesign2021":"https://www.ajc.com/","TopNav":null,"TopicsBar":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/"},"site":{"site_url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/","section_comments_enabled":"Yes","site_description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","site_title":"Atlanta GA News | Top News Page"},"navigation":{"nav_title":"News"},"inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"News","Sponsor":{"sponsor_url_open_new_tab":"true","sponsor_desktop_banner":"","sponsor_mobile_banner":"","sponsor_url":""},"_id":"/news","ancestors":{"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"LoggedOutMenu":[],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"TopicsBar":[]},"order":{"AmpNav":1001,"default":1001,"SectionMap":1018,"MainMenuRedesign2021":1001,"ComposerNav":1136}}},"_website_section_id":"ajc./news","type":"section","version":"0.6.0"}],"primary_section":{"path":"/news","name":"News"},"tags":[{"text":"breaking-news.ajc"},{"text":"crime-news.ajc"},{"text":"publicsafety.ajc"},{"text":"atlanta-now"},{"text":"teamjennifer"},{"text":"cobb county"},{"text":"douglas county"}]},"type":"story","last_updated_date":"2022-01-12T22:59:44.381Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"credits":{"affiliation":[{"name":"Douglas County Sheriff's Office","type":"author"}],"by":[{"name":"Douglas County Sheriff's Office","type":"author","byline":"Douglas County Sheriff's Office"}]},"subtitle":"Arrest","width":356,"caption":"Varnell Davontez Sanders","type":"image","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/77THXLDETFBKRNZK6OSMYXQIEE.JPG","height":227}},"canonical_url":"/news/2nd-suspect-arrested-in-2020-homicide-near-austell/WLZB4EKPGJBG7GF77ATHDUMLFM/","_id":"WLZB4EKPGJBG7GF77ATHDUMLFM"},{"content_elements":[{"_id":"TUUFJ2GLSVCN7CLHFNNE5DMEWQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641929723741},"type":"text","content":"Skeletal remains unearthed in rural Georgia woods last month were recently identified as those of a DeKalb County man who had been missing since December 2020."},{"_id":"QO2VJA6KV5CI3PFUUHL363NDG4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642010634279},"type":"text","content":"Chanceler James “CJ” McCall, a 23-year-old Lithonia man, was presumed dead by authorities, despite the fact his body had never been located."},{"_id":"JVA7TNMRYBD2VP7X6WS4UDMD54","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642010634280},"type":"text","content":"In fact, DeKalb County police arrested two men in connection with McCall’s homicide in March 2021, a police spokesperson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution."},{"_id":"KRDPVSQNPJAB7NWKSSAG2LNEK4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642010634281},"type":"text","content":"Earnest Lee Johnson Jr., 24, was arrested March 11 and Brandon Jelani McCullough, 29, was taken into custody one day later. 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"}],"display_date":"2022-01-12T21:29:45.473Z","headlines":{"basic":"Remains of DeKalb man missing since 2020 found in Morgan County"},"first_publish_date":"2022-01-12T21:29:45.473Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news","parent":{"default":"https://www.ajc.com/"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"News","description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","_id":"/news","additional_properties":{"original":{"parent":{"AmpNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","default":"https://www.ajc.com/","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","LoggedOutMenu":null,"MainMenuRedesign2021":"https://www.ajc.com/","TopNav":null,"TopicsBar":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/"},"site":{"site_url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/","section_comments_enabled":"Yes","site_description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","site_title":"Atlanta GA News | Top News Page"},"navigation":{"nav_title":"News"},"inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"News","Sponsor":{"sponsor_url_open_new_tab":"true","sponsor_desktop_banner":"","sponsor_mobile_banner":"","sponsor_url":""},"_id":"/news","ancestors":{"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"LoggedOutMenu":[],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"TopicsBar":[]},"order":{"AmpNav":1001,"default":1001,"SectionMap":1018,"MainMenuRedesign2021":1001,"ComposerNav":1136}}},"_website_section_id":"ajc./news","type":"section","version":"0.6.0"},{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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That’s a whopping 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average for December."},{"_id":"5CEY4HWLOZAMJMIWQ3FSG2DLKM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641951911824},"type":"text","content":"Temperatures have been more seasonal so far in 2022, with a cold snap expected to arrive this weekend."},{"_id":"BY4OS5BOVVCQBESKKIVBF5UMOI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642011624079},"type":"text","content":"Still, the December warmth set off alarm bells in some corners of the state. On Georgia’s blueberry and peach farms, growers are concerned that the warmth could leave them vulnerable to damage from a late-season freeze, or that the lack of cold could prevent plants from growing healthy fruit."},{"_id":"QRMPFDE5R5BQTH5BGMIKALNKFA","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"LHMZN2H2YNA5HFMNDCV3JBKJDY"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"Hot December puts Georgia’s fruit growers on edge","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/hot-december-puts-georgias-fruit-growers-on-edge/CFSHVWJKRBB5HJ47NSG22LPSSA/"},{"_id":"43U54QSK3ZAS3FRKXO43OZZHKE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641951911825},"type":"text","content":"The exceptionally warm conclusion to the year that Georgia had was not unexpected."},{"_id":"HOVAFLIVJ5E3POG3MGRLEQDJ4I","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641993748785},"type":"text","content":"A La Niña pattern that developed last year is expected to continue into spring. La Niña is triggered by temperature conditions in the Pacific Ocean, but the phenomenon typically brings drier, warmer conditions to the southern half of the United States and wetter weather to the northern half. This is the second straight winter to feature La Niña, an occurrence that some meteorologists call a “double-dip.”"},{"_id":"UCYBOZXXPBFF7FZQ4R7Q7SJMGQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641993748786},"type":"text","content":"But scientists say the warmth the state felt last year also reflects the longer term effects of human-caused global warming."},{"_id":"WMKUNT4IEFHDZOPRXCXWHH2JEM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642003088333},"type":"text","content":"Globally, 2021 was the fifth-warmest year and the last seven years have been the seven hottest years on record, according to data released this week from the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the European Union’s climate information authority. NOAA is expected to release its recap of global temperatures in 2021 later this week."},{"_id":"AENPAHGLMJE2XJ24IVOM2QYJUA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642007607647},"type":"text","content":"After falling sharply early in the pandemic, emissions of heat-trapping gases surged once again last year in the US by 6.2% compared to 2020, according to a new preliminary analysis by the data analytics firm the Rhodium Group."},{"_id":"YCOSBN4DB5DKJPIVUMIUFCNB5M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641951911826},"type":"text","content":"“We are in a warmed climate and without action, I fear the trend will accelerate,” said Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia. “I often tell people it is not the change that worries me. It is the rate of the change.”"},{"_id":"UWXB7QARTJDJFHKSUIROGM4R2E","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"CUWQCHQ735HBBLZIZIHCLXV7VQ"},"type":"divider"},{"_id":"J3W6ICBKQ5EQRCKV6JN2RP3WZE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642098301459},"type":"text","content":"THIS WEEKEND"},{"_id":"CGCHIVJNTRHNPC6C4HPDHQUQYE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642007607649},"type":"text","content":"Despite the overall warming trend, experts say Georgia can and will continue to see cold temperatures. And a dose of winter weather could come as soon as this weekend, with below-freezing temperatures and precipitation in the forecast."},{"_id":"KNV7PSRCWJF4FLLS27GYQH6V7M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642011624088},"type":"text","content":"Channel 2 Action News’ Brian Monahan said it’s too early to pinpoint exactly what locations will see snow or ice — and how much — but various models show parts of north Georgia could see accumulation. Here’s what the forecast shows for the region, including metro Atlanta:"},{"list_type":"unordered","_id":"PVICOXNAK5A4PMM5CCAXCY6TEA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[]},"type":"list","items":[{"_id":"7CYVB24WCNHCXAO7WV6NN3VAEI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[]},"block_properties":{},"type":"text","content":"Saturday"},{"list_type":"unordered","_id":"GRWESKJ6ONGZ5OYDPQTC362NMA","type":"list","items":[{"_id":"ER6DASVBLJGJ3KUX2EEGH4A2QQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[]},"block_properties":{},"type":"text","content":"Rain is expected to arrive Saturday night and as temperatures drop overnight, some areas could see precipitation transition to sleet and/or snow."}]},{"_id":"YGJOZWH6KZAFDJBV6XN43BZMOY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[]},"block_properties":{},"type":"text","content":"Sunday"},{"list_type":"unordered","_id":"MSG36MEHZJHJHMRG63V4NCQBAU","type":"list","items":[{"_id":"64H5G4LK4RADDGFSJRVVGH6OP4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[]},"block_properties":{},"type":"text","content":"Very cold with lows in the 20s and highs in the low to mid-30s. A wintry mix in the morning could transition into snow later in the day, but this will vary by location."}]}]},{"_id":"AENPAHGLMJE2XJ24IVOM2QYJUA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642007607652},"type":"text","content":"
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Our school is a tight-knit community, and I am sharing this information so that all of our thoughts and prayers can be dedicated to the families involved.”"},{"_id":"IMFRUKLYNZEHHHA5A6M7UTKGV4","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"UCWLHTDZJVFMNPGUGPWVBT6UYI"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"Man shot multiple times while helping someone on I-75, witness says","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/person-shot-multiple-times-while-helping-someone-on-i-75/5LJMGDD5YJBZRGVTEYG5P3LYDM/"},{"_id":"VGICQJYOABGH3MNXMFXQBUVDN4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642008597775},"type":"text","content":"The teenager, identified as Kendall Thomas, has undergone two emergency surgeries, according to a GoFundMe page created to assist the family."},{"_id":"GGH4IQQSJRHP5HQ7ZXLHNWFHLI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642008597776},"type":"text","content":"“Our beloved Kendall suffered an accident while at school,” the fundraising page states. “She was hit by a car while walking and rushed into emergency surgery for brain injury.”"},{"_id":"THV3VMHMVNFCVLXJ6X3TPOEFIE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1642008597777},"type":"text","content":"The crash remains under investigation, according to the State Patrol."}],"display_date":"2022-01-12T17:37:40.056Z","headlines":{"basic":"North Paulding High student critically injured when hit by car on campus"},"first_publish_date":"2022-01-12T17:37:40.056Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news","parent":{"default":"https://www.ajc.com/"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"News","description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","_id":"/news","additional_properties":{"original":{"parent":{"AmpNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","default":"https://www.ajc.com/","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","LoggedOutMenu":null,"MainMenuRedesign2021":"https://www.ajc.com/","TopNav":null,"TopicsBar":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/"},"site":{"site_url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/","section_comments_enabled":"Yes","site_description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","site_title":"Atlanta GA News | Top News Page"},"navigation":{"nav_title":"News"},"inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"News","Sponsor":{"sponsor_url_open_new_tab":"true","sponsor_desktop_banner":"","sponsor_mobile_banner":"","sponsor_url":""},"_id":"/news","ancestors":{"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"LoggedOutMenu":[],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"TopicsBar":[]},"order":{"AmpNav":1001,"default":1001,"SectionMap":1018,"MainMenuRedesign2021":1001,"ComposerNav":1136}}},"_website_section_id":"ajc./news","type":"section","version":"0.6.0"}],"primary_section":{"path":"/news","name":"News"},"tags":[{"text":"breaking-news.ajc"},{"text":"crime-news.ajc"},{"text":"publicsafety.ajc"},{"text":"atlanta-now"},{"text":"teamjennifer"},{"text":"paulding county"}]},"type":"story","last_updated_date":"2022-01-12T19:53:38.773Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"credits":{"affiliation":[{"name":"File Photo","type":"author"}],"by":[{"name":"File","type":"author","byline":"File"}]},"subtitle":"","width":852,"caption":"A Paulding County teenager was critically injured when she was hit by a car Tuesday, according to investigators.","type":"image","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/PMWVJSG7HZAZFDTHUFY4XM7WG4.jpg","height":480}},"canonical_url":"/news/north-paulding-high-student-critically-injured-when-hit-by-car-on-campus/RJBDV7JXPVHULM5JPWNYLQVZHE/","_id":"RJBDV7JXPVHULM5JPWNYLQVZHE"},{"content_elements":[{"_id":"ZRWS2N23SVCQDHJFZW7N33COKA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781918},"type":"text","content":"On a warm Saturday in December, a Christmas parade snaked through Tifton, a town of 17,000 located amid sprawling South Georgia farmlands. The parade is a tradition dating back decades, but there was something new to the 2021 edition, which marked the event’s return after a pandemic break in 2020. For the first time, the parade featured a float from the Latino Community Fund (LCF Georgia), an Atlanta-based nonprofit."},{"_id":"FHQLY74B6FERBN6UDZLTRSDBRQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641579908872},"type":"text","content":"As it wound its way through the parade route, the LCF Georgia float played well-known Latin American villancicos, or Christmas carols, a departure from the English-language classics other floats stuck to. Along with Santa hats, LCF Georgia staffers wore shirts that said “proudly Latinx” and “estamos aquí,” or “we are here.”"},{"_id":"2ADP3P6DDVGHJNV7VYXPZM6YTY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781919},"type":"text","content":"Many of the Hispanic families in attendance that day took notice. “Miren, son latinos!” a young boy in the crowd told his parents. “Look, they’re Latino!”"},{"_id":"DXBL4OY2G5CEZADC3NXKFUN4F4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781920},"type":"text","content":"The sights and sounds of the Tifton Christmas parade reflect rural Georgia’s changing demographics. In Tift County, where the town of Tifton is located, the total population grew by just 3% from 2010 to 2020, according to data from the 2020 U.S. Census. During that time period, the Latino population countywide surged by nearly 30%, an increase of over 1,000 people."},{"_id":"DBYPL2FTKBDWTEQFOQ5FYBFHOM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781922},"type":"text","content":"Even as the state tallied a 10% overall population jump over the decade, rural communities shrank. Rural areas are defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as being low-density and removed from urban centers. Among Georgia’s 159 counties, 54 were deemed rural in the 2020 count. Across all rural counties, the population decreased by over 100,000 residents, according to an AJC data analysis, a drop-off driven by reductions in the white, Black and Asian populations."},{"_id":"OJHDYYD2WBDADANTLCZE4XAQNA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641578812105},"type":"text","content":"But as the non-Hispanic population went down, the Hispanic population grew."},{"_id":"RAT5JACHCRENNDNOFT6TXYPXOU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781923},"type":"text","content":"Raw numbers are small — there were 45,802 Hispanic residents in the 54 rural counties in 2020, a net official increase of just 1,500 people compared to 2010. Still, a growing Latino population in the Georgia countryside suggests increased diversity in the state isn’t limited to urban areas."},{"level":3,"_id":"OMHYWWK5UFG5PLU3QJMD6JBDBE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781921},"type":"header","content":"Latinos diversifying rural Georgia"},{"_id":"6FZLPBIJNBGMRHD7WSZRYU36BQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641586638882},"type":"text","content":"It’s a national trend: According to a study of rural diversity by the Brookings Institute, a nonprofit public policy organization, burgeoning Latino populations are diversifying rural regions across the country, providing a “demographic lifeline” bolstering otherwise shrinking communities."},{"_id":"RRN7737SPZBVHELEFQHPNEOOZ4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781924},"type":"text","content":"Awareness of changing rural Georgia demographics — and new community needs tied to the COVID-19 pandemic — fueled LCF Georgia’s expansion to the Tifton area starting in 2020. With a team of eight local “community navigators,” all sons or daughters of first-generation farmworkers from Latin America, the nonprofit has been granting financial assistance to local families who lost income during the pandemic. They’ve also helped coordinate vaccination clinics and know-your-rights initiatives to prevent worker abuse on the fields."},{"_id":"22DLNOM2PRHNLBU7TLBLQCW2FA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781925},"type":"text","content":"“In the metro Atlanta bubble, people aren’t fully aware of the magnitude of the Latino population that exists” in rural Georgia, said Pedro Viloria, South Georgia manager at LCF Georgia."},{"_id":"YVHWMXTKMFGOTLXR3RX3IOEZSI","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"QQFVQK7FUFEZJG4HQSQ6XTQABE"},"type":"raw_html","content":"

"},{"_id":"7DDBKYJBCBH3NAUEEOBHYP75Q4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781926},"type":"text","content":"Like other local Latino advocates, Viloria said he suspects the census failed to capture the true size of the Hispanic population in the state, given noncitizens’ longstanding concerns around taking part in the count. Those concerns were amplified in 2020 when the Trump administration unsuccessfully attempted to add a question to the census questionnaire about citizenship status."},{"_id":"JFLQM624JNFEDDN34EYREXRB5E","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641491311665},"type":"text","content":"Hesitancy could have been especially pronounced in rural communities, where many unauthorized farmworkers work and live. According to a 2018 report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor, 49% of the U.S. agricultural workforce is undocumented."},{"_id":"BD4DLXNPHRCEXCVGZUS3IIKLXY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781927},"type":"text","content":"“I think there definitely was an undercount,” Viloria said. “We know that the [Hispanic] community is bigger than what’s reported.”"},{"_id":"F7S2QNOM6JDV5OGZ4C6M6SCTBM","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"WK3VMDTO25DZ7L57NXZJNGQ2WM"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"A small Ga. county saw its Hispanic population rise by over 500%. Here’s why it matters","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/a-small-ga-county-saw-its-hispanic-population-rise-by-over-500-heres-why-it-matters/M3YMWBABQZEENGZCL65FKPCVDI/"},{"level":3,"_id":"DPE5KB2UHFEGFPNG7YQSWICSXE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781928},"type":"header","content":"Search for opportunities"},{"_id":"LQ2CCIHQIBC57EUBJGI6KVQXWI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781929},"type":"text","content":"Community advocates say Latino migrants are drawn to the opportunities for economic advancement in rural regions, where newcomers have been able to find lower costs of living and plentiful jobs."},{"_id":"S6YIMPCZPFDWVCPUXZEKAEOIQU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781930},"type":"text","content":"“As urban areas gentrify and the costs go up, that pushes out some Latinos,” Viloria said. “Even Buford Highway, which has historically welcomed many Latino immigrants, is seeing some gentrification.”"},{"_id":"ZG7ZIEU42ZD53J7KDPCXGPJCGI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781932},"type":"text","content":"In 2019, Arthur Morin helped create the Valdosta Latino Association, a nonprofit that serves and promotes the integration of Latino residents in the Valdosta area. Many small counties outside Valdosta registered significant jumps in their Hispanic population since 2010, including Lanier County which showed a rise of 24% in residents who identified as Hispanic."},{"_id":"MBBG4LXY7VACXO2L2AAWXEAXHQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641406781931},"type":"text","content":"According to Morin, Hispanic workers with or without legal status tend to look at agricultural worksites for their first jobs when they settle in rural Georgia. As time passes, those workers may branch out and pursue opportunities in industries such as construction or hospitality."},{"_id":"E7RZE4FOPVHAVBPVV24KOBOQFY","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"DGV2LK6E65BP3KDG36ZJJUYLEQ"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"2020 Census: Georgia’s minority populations have surged","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/2020-census-georgias-minority-populations-have-surged/SLZIWRHNE5CMDJR2EDMRD42ZDY/"},{"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc"},"address":{},"syndication":{},"caption":"Pedro Viloria with the Latino Community Fund takes part in a Christmas parade in the town of Tifton in South Georgia on Saturday, December 4, 2021.","source":{"system":"photo center","name":"AJC","edit_url":"","source_type":"staff","additional_properties":{"editor":"photo center"}},"taxonomy":{"associated_tasks":[]},"related_content":{"derivative_of":[{"referent":{"id":"HQWVYSC32FHMDEYQ6VFKPXQ5FE","type":"image"},"type":"reference"}]},"type":"image","distributor":{"mode":"reference","reference_id":"8aec2b8c-455c-4816-903d-79fc8fdf8019"},"version":"0.10.3","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/KSSPLQWXUZBEFP5FDBSKYA5QWM.jpg","geo":{},"licensable":false,"credits":{"by":[{"image":{"version":"0.5.8","url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/ajc/3bda8595-d0dd-4d69-b9a1-e753689b434b.png"},"socialLinks":[{"site":"email","deprecated":true,"deprecation_msg":"Please use social_links.","url":"lautaro.grinspan@ajc.com"},{"site":"twitter","deprecated":true,"deprecation_msg":"Please use social_links.","url":"https://twitter.com/lautarogrinspan"}],"org":"Atlanta","social_links":[{"site":"email","url":"lautaro.grinspan@ajc.com"},{"site":"twitter","url":"https://twitter.com/lautarogrinspan"}],"name":"Lautaro Grinspan","description":"Lautaro Grinspan is part of the The Atlanta-Journal Constitution's immigration team, covering metro Atlanta immigrant communities. 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She says a big draw rural areas have is a perception among migrants that they will be safer from immigration authorities there. That perception is well-founded: two metro Atlanta counties — Gwinnett and Cobb — were among those that led the country in terms of immigration enforcement through 2020, before local law enforcement pulled out of a program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)."},{"level":3,"_id":"TJF5XDGIJFC7POACRYTS42KZ4Y","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669703},"type":"header","content":"Surge of seasonal farmworkers"},{"_id":"627Q6M7A35BT5BXC2BB3OZZQ6E","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669704},"type":"text","content":"A notable source of Hispanic migration to rural Georgia in the past 10 years has been the explosive growth of the H-2A visa program for seasonal farmworkers. According to the federal Office of Foreign Labor Certification, Georgia had 27,614 H-2A positions certified in fiscal year 2020, up from roughly 5,500 in fiscal year 2010, with the overwhelmingly majority of workers coming from Latin America."},{"_id":"NTZKQCOF2BGBRM4MYFOVXJSG6U","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669705},"type":"text","content":"If they were present in the state on census day – April 1, 2020, a date that coincided with the busy spring harvesting season – temporary farmworkers were eligible to be counted, but there’s no way to know if they were."},{"_id":"3IGMYAUFPBAOXM3RHPHJPCUWQM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669708},"type":"text","content":"Though H-2A workers remain in the state only for months at a time, they can become fixtures in the places they live and work."},{"_id":"GVHKHVDXBNC7HO4RQHELH7CLDM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669709},"type":"text","content":"“A lot of our farms will see a large portion, north of 80 to maybe even 90% of those workers return year after year to the same farm and become part of that community,” said Chris Butts, executive vice president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Associations."},{"_id":"WG7YILTEXRA3LDZ44GOLZKAYNA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669710},"type":"text","content":"The man behind the wheel at the LCF Georgia Christmas float is part of the Latino population that has settled in rural Georgia over the past 10 years."},{"_id":"IAM7NZZXXVALDPTDK42HGFW76A","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669711},"type":"text","content":"Victor Muñoz, 27, made the first of six trips to Tift County in 2015, as an H-2A seasonal farmworker. Each year he came, he stayed in Georgia for 10 months, harvesting everything from collard greens and kale to onions and cilantro. After marrying LCF Georgia’s Ulyssa Muñoz in 2021, Victor Muñoz is here permanently, and still working in the fields. It’s a lifestyle that suits him, he says."},{"_id":"GQXZXKE2LJGB5J4B6T7567MSUA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669712},"type":"text","content":"“I like this area, it fits me … I grew up in the countryside.”"},{"_id":"SNPSWKWLFZB5NBVWSNVHR65UUE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669713},"type":"text","content":"On the farm, Muñoz works alongside his two brothers, both of whom are H-2A workers, or “contratados.”"},{"_id":"2Y5FYB6GDVBA7L7MOQ3IE7BLAE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1641492669714},"type":"text","content":"“Most of [my coworkers] are Mexican,” he said. “The work on the field is hard but Mexicans find a way to fight through it, because we come from far away and we have to get ahead.”"},{"_id":"IDNVFZ3W65ALVLZBPE6VAAPZRU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[{"pos":0,"comment":"By the numbers"}],"comments":[],"_id":1641563965577},"type":"text","content":""},{"_id":"LSSTWGPIBREFXCECRKENNP3WGI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[{"pos":0,"comment":"2010: 58 rural counties, 870,541 total residents, 592,206 white residents, 217,819 Black residents, 44,308 Hispanic residents, 5,103 Asian residents."}],"comments":[],"_id":1641563965578},"type":"text","content":""},{"_id":"CACJYFG6M5GZ3N5MIV6YPJXWWE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[{"pos":0,"comment":"2020: 54 rural counties, 767,896 total residents, 510,137 white residents, 182,669 Black residents, 45,802 Hispanic residents, 4,679 Asian residents"}],"comments":[],"_id":1641563965579},"type":"text","content":""},{"_id":"YZCJIYFSUNB3HB3ELO3NUDFFM4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[{"pos":0,"comment":"2010: 101 urban counties, 8,817,112 total residents, 4,821,712 white residents, 2,692,981 Black residents, 809,381 Hispanic residents, 306,589 Asian residents"}],"comments":[],"_id":1641563965580},"type":"text","content":""},{"_id":"ZFGR6JDGFBFGBLWSG5XAMQ6XXI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[{"pos":0,"comment":"2020: 105 urban counties, 9,944,012 total residents, 4,852,019 white residents, 3,095,450 Black residents, 1,077,655 Hispanic residents, 471,001 Asian residents"}],"comments":[],"_id":1641563965581},"type":"text","content":""},{"_id":"CMPUVKTUAJEB5OME6CVKDQ26PU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":"TKSM6MPBUNGN7D7LMRL3MQ3FCI"},"type":"text","content":"Lautaro Grinspan is a Report for America corps member covering metro Atlanta’s immigrant communities."}],"display_date":"2022-01-12T11:00:00Z","headlines":{"basic":"‘We are here’: Latino communities grow in rural Georgia "},"first_publish_date":"2022-01-12T11:00:00Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news","parent":{"default":"https://www.ajc.com/"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"News","description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - 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