Gicola is a Black, Southern community organizer and budding political strategist from the East Side of Nashville, TN. She started organizing at fourteen years old, before she even knew what organizing was, and has led campaigns around the issues of predatory lending, police accountability, ending money bail, voting rights restoration, and the criminalization of poverty.
She currently serves as the statewide organizer for Free Hearts, a non-profit led by formerly incarcerated women helping to support, educate, and advocate for families impacted by incarceration. Gicola is focused on building statewide power in TN with a concentration on base building with communities and voters who are traditionally and intentionally left out of the legal and political process.
Gicola has also co-led Participatory Defense Nashville since January 2016, where she regularly organizes with families and community members who are facing incarceration in order to transform the landscape of power in the courtroom.
Prior to her current role, Gicola was instrumental in highlighting the injustice of the money bail system as the manager of the Nashville Community Bail Fund. Gicola spent her time bailing low income Nashvillians out of jail, and raising awareness of the negative effects of pretrial incarceration on families and communities.
After her uncle was killed by a police officer 20 years ago, she was moved to advocate for other families who had similar experiences. Gicola played a key role in building the Justice For Jocques Coalition and Community Oversight Now-Nashville, which helped fuel the renewed push for police accountability in Nashville after the murder of Jocques Clemmons who was gunned down by Nashville police officer in 2017. The coalition made history by forcing a referendum onto the midterm ballot to amend the city’s charter. Gicola successfully coordinated the campaign to a 59% victory in November of 2018 despite being outspent 30 to 1.
Gicola carries the vulnerable and unheard stories of injustice with her daily to fight for change. She is passionate about getting free, and has a deep love for community.
When she’s not organizing or talking politics, she is listening to her granny tell her stories about growing up on a farm, listening to old school music, being a HBCU marching band enthusiast, or traveling. Gicola is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University.
Email: Gicola @ freeheartsorg. com
Phone: (615) 745-1117 xt. 703