Imagine this, a perfectly located city with a sprawling canopy of trees and greenery, multi-billion dollar facilities, the world’s busiest airport, a booming tech and entertainment industry, widely believed to be a front runner for the new Amazon Headquarters and it’s successfully run by African Americans — no, this is not Marvel’s dreamed up Wakanda Land, this is present day Atlanta, GA. Atlanta: home to the nation’s most famous civil rights leader, the epicenter where many African-Americans first established multi-million dollar businesses and meaningful social organizations, known as “The City Too Busy to Hate.” Atlanta represents what people around the world recognize as city ran by African Americans — and successfully. With $200M in reserves, two new stadiums, funding for the BeltLine that wraps around the city, where roughly 49 percent of the metro area’s black population owns their home, Atlanta’s superlative of being the unofficial capital of Black America is well deserved.
Now in the midst of the 2017 Atlanta Mayoral election run off on December 5th, all that Atlanta represents and has built is at stake. Two women candidates, with two wildly different ideals, one infinitely more qualified. Considering the current contextual dynamics of the country, we see similar tactics as to what we saw during the Presidential election; Republican playbook of rhetoric, untruths to discredit and instilling doubt and fear in people. To add insult to injury, black leaders are fighting amongst themselves, willing to give up Atlanta’s history over their petty past grievances. It is beyond shortsighted and embarrassing.
As we approach the possibility of America’s Black Mecca turning the clock back to 1973, there are a few special individuals – formerly members of the Black Leadership – who need to be called out for leading this charge. From the desk of past Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin on the then Atlanta Mayoral candidate Mary Norwood in 2009:
“Norwood has not demonstrated vision, competence or integrity in her public life as an elected official. Rather she has spent her time building a political network to run for mayor. It looks like she’ll be successful.”
“If your choice is Norwood, find a decent reason. Her record is lackluster. She has not demonstrated leadership as a member of Council for seven years and now says she suffers from memory loss. She can’t remember who she’s voted for in recent presidential elections. At least she didn’t lie or did she?”
“Norwood would be a BIG change for sure… No record, rhetoric only. Norwood voted to weaken the city’s ethics laws, to keep police on furlough, to increase pension payments to employees. She used the public’s money to make friends for her campaign. Norwood is a throw-back to pay to play… I thought that game was dead.”
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