Georgia State Representative Dar’Shun Kendrick currently represents House District 93 which contains portions of Lithonia, Stonecrest, and unincorporated Snellville in southern Gwinnett County. Kendrick has served in the legislature since 2011. A proud ‘Grady Baby’, Kendrick would later attend college at Oglethorpe University where she earned two Bachelor’s degrees, one in political science and the other in communications.

She got involved in politics at an early age working for two members of Congress and working at the Georgia State Capitol for a committee chairman. Democrats were in power at the time. Kendrick would later go to law school at the University of Georgia when she fell in love with securities and corporate work. 

Kendrick would later start her law firm, the Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group. Her which a corporate securities law firm and investment advisory firm that helps companies raising investor capital focus on growing their company by outsourcing the regulatory services to her firm. Additionally, Kendrick’s law firm a registered investment advisory firm, plus she possesses a Series 65 license, which means she is licensed to give investment advice in the state of Georgia.

“So people who are starting private equity firms, venture funds, and/or investment groups, we give them advice about where to put their money once they’ve raised it from investors,” explained Kendrick.

However, Kendrick did not believe she would run for statewide office before she was well-established in her career.

“So my original plan was to make a lot of money as a lawyer and run for office. You know, middle age, maybe 45 or 50 years old once I settled in,” Kendrick said. “But I was involved in politics since I was 18 years old.

I made a lot of friends at the state capitol. And one of those friends was former legislator Howard Mosby, who at the time was the chair of the DeKalb delegation, and he was a friend of mine as well as Pam Stevenson, because she worked for George Maddox, the former representative who passed in 2012. And so I got to know them through working at the Capitol. And I was at the Capitol, a true story. I was there to talk about my law firm because I had started an MBA program and started my law firm at the time.”

Kendrick ultimately made the decision to run for office at the age of 27, which made her one of the youngest legislators inside the Gold Dome.

“I wished I could tell you that I ran to qualify,” Kendrick said. “But it was more of a slow stroll because I was like, ‘Why am I doing this at the age of 27? Starting an MBA program and trying to start a law firm?’ But, I guess the proof is in the pudding. Here I am on my seventh term. And I’m still here. And it’s a lot of highs. And there’s a lot of lows. But at the end of it all I can truly say I am glad that I said yes. Even though it took about five other elected officials to persuade me to do it 30 minutes before I qualified!”

Kendrick is the only Black female attorney currently in the State Legislature. She is actively recruiting more Black women to run for statewide office.

State Rep. Dar’Shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia, poses for a photo in the the Georgia House Chambers on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Kendrick spoke out against Senate Bill 226, legislation that paves the way for certain books to be banned from Georgia’s public schools (Photo: Georgia House Photos)

“Georgia is over 30% African-American, around 33%, now that we have the new census. And so representation matters, how people look matters,” Kendrick said. “I serve. as the house with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, which is the largest Black caucus in the nation. And the issues that we tackle focus on that 33%, which is 1/3 of the state. That’s a big chunk. But more importantly, I think being a lawyer brings with it a certain skill set that other professions will not have. When you talk about implementing laws, interpreting laws, all of that. Lawyers have special training, there’s a reason we went through years of training and had to pass a bar. In order to become a lawyer, we just think differently, which doesn’t mean that having other industries and other people in different sectors doesn’t matter, because I think there should be diversity. 

But when I first started in the legislature in 2011, we were lawyers, we’re about 20% of the legislature. At last count, we are only about 11% of the legislature. And that means that over the course of about 10 years, we’ve half that amount. And so I think that we become dangerous as a society when we don’t make sure that we have enough lawyers that can interpret the laws and understand the issues and really be able to make sure that the legislation is as best that we can.”

In 2019, Kendrick filed legislation in response to the Republicans quest to ban abortion at six weeks. Titled the “Testicular Bill of Rights”, the bill would, among other things, ban vasectomies in Georgia, make it illegal for men to have sex without wearing a condom and institute a 24-hour waiting period before men can buy porn or sex toys.

Tomika Miller, center, is joined by State Representatives Park Cannon and Dar’Shun Kendrick at the south steps inside the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

And, it would also mandate that men must obtain permission from their partner before they can get an erectile dysfunction medication prescription.

When the United States Supreme Court did not reaffirm Roe, House Bill 481 ultimately became the law of the land in the State of Georgia. When asked about how people can actively engage and get involved, Kendrick said the easiest way is to voice your opinion with your vote.

“This year, we have a gubernatorial election coming up; we’re electing a new governor as well as all statewide candidates,” said Kendrick. “And we’re also overturning the legislature, so all seats in the House and in the Senate are up for reelection. If you want to make a difference, that is the most straightforward and easy way to do it. is to make sure that you vote and bring five people to vote for and elect the people that support the policies that you want to see. Because the reason that we are here is because we elected a president, twice impeached, that was able to appoint conservative leaning justices to the Supreme Court.

So voting is very much related to the judicial system, which is very much related to the reason that we have the laws on the books today.”

Kendrick is currently running for reelection in House District 93 and is encouraging concerned individuals to get involved in politics.

“All you need to do is get started, come up with a platform for the issues that matter most for you most of the time is kitchen table type issues when we’re talking about the economy, and then connect with those individuals and organizations that support what you support. And you’ll find that it’s very easy to get involved.

State Representative Dar’Shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia, speaks out against restricting access to reproductive care during a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, May 9, 2022. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

I know it seems like it’s going to take a lot of work. But we are in a digital economy, a digital age. So even if you can send out emails, if even if you can be on the phone and make calls. Each of you has the individual power to make a difference. It’s vitally important that you start to tell us as elected officials and tell others what you want for us to do. We can’t do what you want for us to do if you do not get involved. You’re more powerful than you think, there’s many sources to to get involved. Start out small, grow big, and there is no limit to the amount of power and influence that you can have.”

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...