I first arrived in Atlanta Georgia, 50 years ago. I fell in love with this place almost immediately. Atlanta had an energy I had never quite seen. It was not perfect but there seemed to be a desire to put differences aside and work in a constructive way for the betterment of our community. There seemed to be an acceptance that change, particularly social change was taking place and that it was going to be a journey.
The next year Atlanta elected the first of a long line of Black and Black female mayors. Until last week we had one of the only openly gay female police chiefs that most felt had been doing a very good, very difficult job. During my time here Atlanta has grown in population by 400%. We have the busiest international airport in the world. We have hosted the Olympics, the Super Bowl several times, virtually every major convention you can name and we have built world-class sports venues, museums, parks and have become the hub of a major music industry. We are home to several of the finest universities in the world. We are the birthplace and home to Martin Luther King Jr. We have been a progressive city with dynamic forward-thinking leadership.
I fear that we are on the precipice, a reversing of all our progress. Suddenly, we are no longer “the city too busy to hate.” I am personally mourning what is happening and fear that our unprecedented progress will grind to an abrupt halt, this beautiful shining community will follow in the ways of so many other American cities, and evolve into a shell of its former self because we seem to have lost our ability to join hands and work for the betterment of all people. Regaining the overall progress and momentum made will be virtually impossible. A sad time to be sure!