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Who Is Sonya Halpern?

Sonya Halpern is a first-generation Georgian who has lived in the 39th District for nearly 25 years. Since the day she moved to Georgia, Sonya has committed herself to the community that she chose to call home. She has been involved with a number of community service organizations, including the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Andrew J. Young Foundation, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, the National Black Arts Festival, and many others. Sonya’s belief in the principles of equity and access have guided her as she has worked to build a brighter future for the people of the 39th.


Sonya grew up in a home where both parents graduated from an HBCU - Tougaloo College in Mississippi. Her mother worked at a company helping people with disabilities and father had a 30+ year career at IBM after leaving the U.S. Air Force. Sonya worked summers at both places while pursuing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts before continuing on to the University of Hartford for her MBA. She graduated in the middle of a recession which made it impossible to find a job, so she moved into her local chapter of the YWCA in White Plains and started doing temp jobs throughout nearby New York City. It was this experience that taught her how important it is to create a strong community where everyone can get the support they need to build a good life for themselves and their families. She spent nearly a decade in New York, culminating in a job with ESPN where she helped launch their first digital advertising efforts. 


She then landed a full-time job with Cox Enterprises, bringing her to Atlanta, GA. It was here that she married her husband, Daniel Halpern, and had three beautiful children. Throughout her more than two decades of community service work here, she has had the opportunity to see firsthand every challenge facing the 39th district, including a strained public education system, rising healthcare costs, lack of affordable housing, and the need for criminal justice reform. These are challenges that can’t be solved by community service alone - they must be addressed by your elected officials.


Sonya is a fierce advocate for the equity and opportunity you deserve. Faced with a crumbling social safety net and almost no opportunities for economic mobility, very few people are truly free to achieve their full potential. With Sonya on your side, she’ll continue to fight to change that.

Leadership at the Capitol

  • Chair, Senate Study Committee on Excellence, Innovation and Technology at Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs)

  • Vice Chair, Senate Democratic Caucus

  • Vice Chair, Urban Affairs Committee

  • Vice Chair, Fulton County Delegation

  • Vice Chair, City of Atlanta Delegation

  • Co-Chair, General Assembly Working Group on Addiction and Recovery  

  • Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Member

  • Women's Legislative Caucus Member

  • Working Families Caucus Member

  • Georgia-Israel Legislative Caucus Member

Leadership in the Community

  • First African-American and first Georgian to Chair the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts, a position to which she was appointed by President Barack Obama.

  • Founding Co-Chair, Electing Women Alliance Atlanta

  • Founding member of the Atlanta School for the Arts Foundation

  • Member of the Women’s Leadership Forum of the DNC

  • Member of the African American Leadership Council of the DNC

  • Executive Committee member of YMCA of Metro Atlanta

  • Executive Committee member of regional arts organization South Arts

  • Former Chair of the Board, The Children's School

  • Former Chair of the Board, National Black Arts Festival

  • Former Vice Chair of the Board, WABE/Public Broadcasting Atlanta


  • YMCA’s 2019 Volunteer of the Year 

  • Named one of the “Top 100 Black Women of Influence” by the Atlanta Business League  

  • Named a “Woman of Achievement” by the YWCA of Greater Atlanta

  • Honored with a State Senate Resolution (SR 861) sponsored by Senator Nikema Williams for being an “exemplary servant leader”

  • Recipient of the Nikki T Randall Servant Leadership Award from the GA Legislative Women’s Caucus

  • Honored with the “Sandra Anderson Bacchus Legacy Award” from the National Black Arts Festival

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