I am tired. Tired of these empty promises from politicians who have shown me over and over again that I can not trust them. With so much going on in the world, I could focus my anger and rage on international or national politics pertaining to people of color. I am focused on Atlanta; although it is important to look over the world’s fence at the endless fields of racism, terrorism, capitalism, colorism, sexism and every other "ism" aimed at people of color, my own yard is terribly out of order.
Atlanta has been my home for nearly three decades and I have seen this city go from being a soulful promise to a soulless gentrified ghost. Over the past week of unrest, protest and riots, Atlanta has made it clear to me and so many others that new leadership is needed within our city. The current state of political and community figurehead leadership is completely disconnected from the needs of the people.
As a father, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend I have learned that true leaders lead from the front while preparing for the hard times during the soft times. During the soft times, Atlanta’s leadership teams have been completely out of focus on what is right for our communities on so many levels. From supporting and growing small businesses, public education, community programs, Atlanta’s figurehead leaders have been asleep at the wheel.
Then again, maybe they have been wide awake as they work the agendas of the real leaders, perhaps I am not looking at this correctly. It could be that Atlanta’s leadership teams are only focused on supporting, funding and growing BIG business, while using our artists and creatives as goats to clear the pathway for
in once bombed out areas like
Atlanta’s public education is merely a punchline in a school-to-prison pipeline joke. Instead of creating community employment and entrepreneurship programs to help our youth, our city’s young children who sell bottles of water on our city streets are arrested for doing so. Again, maybe I am not looking at things correctly.
For people to value a community, a community has to value its people. For decades, Atlanta’s leadership teams have made it crystal clear that the best interest of the people is not a priority. How can this city fail our people within every single sector and then expect for us to have some sense of pride and ownership within our communities? WE DON’T OWN MUCH OF ANYTHING IN ATLANTA! We can’t place our children on a school bus to go get a decent education, unless you live in the white exclusive neighborhoods of Atlanta. (As a Black parent, that creates a number of other social problems for our children.) Growing a small business in Atlanta is nearly impossible, it is some sort of hellish obstacle course. The level of consistent city-led support and opportunities for professional artists is nearly nonexistent. So when these leadership figureheads speak to us about not rioting and urging our people to protest peacefully within “our” community that sounds ridiculous. Clearly Atlanta’s real leaders and our figurehead leaders have been at war against our citizens for decades. The people are now finally waking up to that reality.
Take the steady neglect of Atlanta, the current economic recession, the federal government’s ongoing support of the white nationalist agenda, police brutality and mix those items with the impact that COVID-19 has had on everyone, this created a perfect storm for a revolution. During the soft times, these Atlanta figure heads and “leaders” have not invested in our communities in the ways needed. Now as we are moving to the center of these hard times it has become painfully clear to everyone that these figureheads are tone-deaf and not worth listening to. This revolutionary song of 2020 does not harmonize well with the
we shall overcome
songs from the 1960s. Mayor Bottoms spoke about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his peaceful protesting ideology, his life did not end peacefully by natural causes. As we all know, Dr. King’s life was taken violently and now our people are tired of this same song and dance.
Go home and starve is what you all are telling us. Don’t destroy Atlanta’s real leaders' properties is what you all are telling us. The curtain has been snatched down by our new breed of freedom fighters and these self-serving promoters of “The Atlanta Way” have been exposed. New leadership will emerge from these ashes. These new leaders will not be manufactured by Atlanta’s privileged groups who are totally disconnected from the realities of the people. My opinion is one thing, but the reality of our leaders’ priorities are currently within the refrigerators and bank accounts of the people - EMPTY.
Editorial Director & Publisher
Executive Creative Director