RIP Medical Debt
Liliana Bakhtiari has partnered with RIP Medical Debt to bring relief to families here in Georgia suffering from accumulated medical debt using donations to purchase bundled medical debt portfolios that have gone through collection agencies for months or years. RIP Medical Debt is a non-profit organization that raises funds in order to purchase bundled medical debt portfolios from collection agencies. Using third-party credit data providers, it targets debt incurred by people facing financial hardship, and then wipes that debt away for pennies on the dollar. On average, $1 abolishes $100 in medical debt. Prioritizing forgiving medical debt incurred by people facing financial hardship, the organization is able to free entire families from a burden they never should have had to shoulder in the first place.
The RIP Medical Debt organization aligns closely with Bakhtiari’s ongoing fight to alleviate gratuitous social burdens preventing people from having a healthy, balanced, and thriving life. Medical debt is an epidemic in America. It’s shocking how easily a family can acquire significant debt through medical expenses, with estimates of over $75 billion in debt weighing down American progress. 1 in 5 Americans, over 43 million people, carry delinquent medical debt on their credit reports (Washington Post) and suffer the accompanying economic constraints. Many struggle to cover the cost of their medical care at all, as high as 1 in 3 Americans (Bloomberg). What’s worse, the debt of one person is often carried by their entire family, spreading the damaging burden across generations of Americans and limiting the economic progress of entire communities.
As a nationally recognized 501c3 non-profit, RIP Medical Debt’s (RIP) mission is to empower donors to forgive billions of dollars in oppressive medical debt. RIP locates, buys, and abolishes destructive medical debt for individuals, veterans, and families. Since it’s inception in 2014, RIP has relieved more than $600 million in medical debt across the U.S., impacting over 250,000 individuals.
Join Liliana Bakhtiari and support the RIP Medical Debt initiative giving relief to families across Georgia. Your donation/sponsoring of this important initiative will have dramatic impact on the lives of people across Georgia while stimulating the economy within their communities. You can learn more about this campaign, and how you can get involved and donate here.
Hope for Georgia Bus
Liliana Bakhtiari’s 2017 run for Atlanta City Council was founded on the principles of positivity, equity and accessibility, building off of her extensive history of organizing and activism. She made national headlines as a queer, Muslim daughter of Iranian-Azeri immigrants and refugees during her first run for political office. As her next move after running for office, Bakhtiari bought a retired school bus in Bartow County with the vision to transform the bus into a mobile form of voter engagement during the midterm elections in November 2018.
Liliana collaborated with Atlanta-based, female arts group Living Melody Collective, who painted the school bus with landscapes of Georgia and scenes of voting history in order to inspire and mobilize voters throughout the state. In the wake of a tumultuous election season, after a “deportation bus” had toured the state and with polling places closing across rural Georgia and voter suppression on the rise, it was more important than ever to mobilize voters, this time with a message of hope. Bakhtiari hoped not only to raise awareness around the gubernatorial election, but also to bolster excitement for other statewide and down ballot races that had the potential to drastically impact Georgia's future.
The Hope for Georgia Bus was born out of the partnership and immediately began making its way around the state. After making its debut last year at the Atlanta Pride Parade, Bakhtiari took off to clutch swing districts before the midterm elections of 2018. Her collaboration with Living Melody Collective continued, with programming at each stop that emphasized the power of civic engagement through art.
This year, the Hope for Georgia Bus begins phase two of development. Bakhtiari is continuing her efforts by taking the bus on a whole new level. Currently, the bus is being renovated into a mobile voter registration station, with the intention of targeting the counties that were hit the hardest by voter purging and suppression during the last election.
The long term vision for the bus is to create a mobile advocacy unit to adapt to other crises needs, but for now, the priority is voter engagement. It is important to Liliana and her team to reach people from all landscapes, all socio-economic backgrounds, and all ideologies, but the bus is just one vehicle for that movement. It is more important now than ever to unite as Georgians in order to imagine a better Georgia for all.
Concept: Upcycle is a community-wide collaborative recycling project between artists and consumers.
As a new project, we are partnering with community organizations and schools for single day recycling awareness and DIY manufacturing workshops that integrate recycled items - like plastics, textiles, and wood - into making a new, sustainably made products by (and for!) the community.
Community Impact: Our leading objective is to bring swift, accessible recycling practices to the larger Atlanta community. By hosting a series of programs that teach specific skill sets for reusing various recyclable materials, we aim to foster a creative ecosystem for sustainable communality where anyone can make products that they could typically buy from a store.
This saves people money, and saves humans from having to detrimentally harvest the earth's resources for single use products.
Seasonal workshops along the Beltline: Each season, Upcycle will panner with an existing sustainably-friendly and/ community organization located along the Beltline to host a one day, rapid recycling event.
Each event will follow the project model and will leverage seasonal consumer demand with connecting our partner's communities to DIY solutions for their needs.
Project goals beyond Spring 2020: We are building Upcycle to be a scalable project so vve can cast a wider net of influence beyond the scope of this particular Beltline activation series - starling in Spring 2020. Our two goals for Spring 2020 include:
Integrate RAPID CITY into institutional + city-wide outreach programs.
Create an online e-commerce platform for community artists that collaborate with RAPID CITY to sell their upcycled goods.
Liliana Bakhtiari, CEO + Marketing Strategy
Maggie Kane, CCO + Systems Engineer