Photo Courtesy of CBS News
Published 07/29/2020 | Reading Time 2 min 32 sec
By Jason Allen, Founder of EdLanta
Atlanta has a Mayor named Keisha who recently has been undergoing a lot of public scrutiny regarding police brutality, poverty, crime and most pressing, the Atlanta Waterboyz.
As the Nation is calling for social justice, residents in Atlanta are looking at ongoing issues of affordable housing, transportation, homelessness, equitable wages, improved public education, healthcare and decreasing the number of families in poverty in Black communities. These are also real concerns that are causing many to ask if she will be the last Black mayor in Atlanta.
It’s still a struggle being Black in Atlanta, the “Black Mecca”!
Black people are suffering in various ways in this city and country—even those in power. Mayor Bottoms is experiencing consistent attacks from Ga. Gov. Brian Kemp while facing opposition from some city council members. In spite of this, supporters of Mayor Bottoms believe that she just might be able to bring equity to Atlanta.
During this call for social change, the Nation is watching the city — coined as the home of the Civil Rights Movement, the Black mecca, ‘Wakanda’ and the city too busy to hate to see how we improve the experiences of Black Americans. Moreover, the people are watching the Democratic Party, Black leadership and allies to see how they will dismantle systemic racism.
Atlanta, like many places in the U.S., is a tale of two cities. There’s a clear divide between the have and have nots that causes and ignores that huge issue of inequity. Furthermore, with more White residents moving into Black communities, causing long time residents to be pushed out, many Atlanta residents fear the city isn’t genuinely standing on its civil rights’ backbone.
Nevertheless, Mayor Bottoms is still unapologetically Atlanta.
Bottoms has roots in the city and shares stories of her family frequently. Many residents are still standing together to support her plan and improvement of the city.
I asked local educator and advocate, Zackory Kirk, to share his thoughts on the impact of Mayor Bottom’s leadership.
“Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has served our city diligently in a number of roles (magistrate judge, city council member) and truly represents the best of who we are as Atlanta.
While some Georgia leaders pander to majority leadership in hopes of “leadership scraps and praise from conservatives”, Mayor Bottoms has vigilantly fought for the best interests of this city and the black and brown constituents who call Atlanta home.
She represents everything that makes our city great.
Her leadership at this time has been transformative and innovative. While our governor has forced our state to reopen in the midst of an international pandemic with disastrous consequences (COVID-19 cases are continually rising at an alarming and embarrassing rate), Mayor Bottoms has never taken her focus away from protecting citizens. She advocates masks and mandates recommended CDC guidelines as much as her executive authority will allow.
She was in the process of implementing policy and criminal justice reform long before Defund the Police was a national battle cry. She refused to detain immigrants and their families who call Atlanta home. She declared our city a safe space while other leaders were putting kids in cages. She ended cash bail bonds.
She upheld her commitment and support of the LGBTQIA+ community by creating the city’s first Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
She increased accountability and transparency with Atlanta’s Open Checkbook to show how city funds and resources were being allocated.
Her administration also hosted the Super Bowl and a number of other major events. Her work has yielded significant progress for our city and helped cement Atlanta’s reputation as a global leader.”
My hope is the Atlanta leaders can get on one accord for the good of the people; especially our children, seniors and those living in poverty.
An original version of this article was published on EdLanta.
Jason Allen has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.