“Only in Atlanta, could a young girl named Keisha who attended Frederick Douglass High School on he Westside of Atlanta, go on to become the 60th Mayor of the greatest city in the world.” – Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
On today, the City of Atlanta swore in the Municipal Court of Atlanta, The City Council of Atlanta, Council President Felicia Moore and the 60th Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms. The previous run off election in December put Atlanta in headlines with the hashtag, #BlackGirlMagic, as the top leader of the city and the City Council President are both Black women. It also highlights the number of women who are taking on positions of power across the country. However, for the City of Atlanta, having a Mayor named “Keisha” has brought about some much-needed conversations regarding race, equity, diversity and education. During her inaugural speech, Mayor Bottoms started and ended with her support of education. “Great schools should not be an option just for the wealthy, but all who call Atlanta home”, words that were inspired by Mayor Bottoms’ travels around the city during the campaign talking with constituents regarding education. These three themes rang heavily throughout her speech making it clear that Atlanta will be reclaiming its time and children.
“It’s about making sure that as leaders of this city, we are making decisions that will allow our young people to live and to grow in order to become all that God created them to be.” – Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Education is a critical focal point for continued success of the city by Mayor Bottoms. It’s no secret that under the current Atlanta Public School District Superintendent, relationships with city and county leaders have been very strained. Atlanta natives and residents were hopeful and relieved to hear Mayor Bottoms’ heavy stance on supporting education by any means necessary. Mayor Bottoms is a graduate of Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta. The Douglass Cluster schools have experienced a significant decline and spiraling failure for the last 10 years. Many of the lower-income communities in Atlanta also have struggling schools that were once thriving. Our 60th Mayor firmly believes that continued growth of the city begins with the mouths of babes, our children, who are looking to us to enrich, empower and educate them by the highest standards. Citizens and viewers left the inauguration determined that we can turn up success for all our children. Council President Moore believes that this first begins with turning around engagement. We must all commit to being engaged!
The neighborhood where a child is born should never dictate the quality of the education that child receives. Access to a high quality public education is a fundamental American right.” – Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Equity is not an option, it’s a human and civil right. Mayor Bottoms’ speech had education and equity weaved all through it. We cannot provide resources for a few children to be successful; we must provide it for all. We all have a part to play and ways to contribute. As the city is undergoing a lot of growth and development, Mayor Bottoms wants her administration and the City Council to focus on ensuring that transit, affordable housing and homeless are confronted with realistic results for all. City Council President Moore is also big on equity and ensuring the right thing is done for all. In her speech, she echoed how Mayor Bottoms has similar passions and focal points as she. “My administration will prioritize affordability and equity in the City of Atlanta.”, words that mean a lot to many city workers and residents. “We cannot stand by and watch prosperity for some push others out of the City and strand them on the margins of society.” So many people talked about gentrification on the campaign trail and neglected its effects on West Atlanta children and schools. Both Council President Moore whose former District is in West Atlanta and Mayor Bottoms want to see as much progress for citizens in West Atlanta as in North Atlanta without people being pushed out. Gentrification is a growing, systematic issue across the Nation. Mayor Bottoms believes that it is imperative for elected officials to work together to address and correct tactics of this. It’s our work around this that will show the Nation and beyond that we are united and intentional about the well-being of all our citizens.
“As Mayor, I will appoint a Chief Education Officer to my senior staff. This Chief Education Officer will address everything from early childhood education, to our partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, to vocational training and apprenticeship.” – Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Economic Growth begins in the households across this great Nation. Mayor Bottoms believes that for Atlanta, the neighborhood where a child is born should never dictate the quality of education that child receives. “Access to a high quality public education is a fundamental American right.” Under Mayor Reed’s administration, the Atlanta Chamber and Atlanta Regional Commission did a lot of work on how to help improve educational outcomes for children and adults in order to stabilize and maintain economic growth. I believe that Mayor Bottoms transparent and forthright efforts to repair and rebuild a partnership with Atlanta Public Schools is essential to the success of the city.
Here’s to not only #BlackGirlMagic but #AtlantaMagic that will spark change in the way we engage children, families and communities in improving our society. It begins with empowering improved educational outcomes for all. #OneAtlanta
Jason 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.