As a native Atlantan and proud ‘Grady baby’, I have been fortunate to experience the growth of Atlanta, Georgia from a traditionally southern town into the global megalopolis it is today. The nostalgia I feel is almost palpable when I reflect on my childhood growing up in Summer Hill, where both my mother and father were raised, only a few blocks away from where I currently reside in Chosewood Park. In 1975, months before I was born, my paternal grandparents built a small home on Atlanta Avenue where they lived for over 30 years, until their deaths. My maternal grandmother lived in Techwood Homes in the shadow of Georgia Tech and the Coca-Cola company headquarters. Needless to say, I believe that the soul of Atlanta is uniquely imprinted upon my DNA.
When I was five years old, my mother moved us to Perry Homes, where I attended C. M. Pitts Elementary and graduated from Samuel Howard Archer High School. Subsequently, I matriculated and graduated from Morehouse College at the insistence of my mentor, the late Honorable Maynard Holbrook Jackson, whom I had met through being selected to the very first class of the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation Leadership Academy. Following my time at Morehouse, I entered Corporate America as a finance professional and spent several years utilizing my skills in finance and accounting. I worked as a Comptroller for the Department of Defense, Finance/Budget Officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in the private sector as a Senior and Regional Accountant. After several years, I acknowledged a call to pastoral ministry. In tandem with my ministerial call, I enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary and spent three years in New Jersey, working on a Master of Divinity degree. Upon completion of my divinity degree from Princeton, I left New Jersey and joyfully returned to my beloved Atlanta where I have been serving in full time ministry at First Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, for almost 20 years. I am not only a product of Atlanta, but I also like to say, “I AM ATL”.
With much prayer, counsel, and candid conversations with many constituents, I decided to launch a campaign for Atlanta City Council, District-1, where I have lived and been connected to most of my life. As a senior pastor and faith leader, you may ask WHY this leap into local politics? The truth is that I have always felt the tug of public service as a civil servant. As such, I have served in the following civic capacities most of my adult life: President of the Atlanta Council of PTA’s, family engagement specialist with the Atlanta Public Schools system, and currently as the Governing Board Chair of the Ivy Preparatory Academy. Now, more than ever, I sense the urgency to engage this opportunity to partner my experiences with becoming the change we wish to see throughout the great city of Atlanta.
Atlanta has proven itself to be an engaged and accomplished city for commerce, education, entertainment, and even social justice. It served as the seat of the historic Civil Rights Movement, welcomed the world as it hosted the 1996 Olympic games, boasts housing the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and continues to draw large industries employing tens of thousands of residents. However, it would be a mistake to romanticize the challenges that this incredibly unique city faces as she continues to rise to her fullest potential. As much as this city has accomplished, I sincerely believe our best days still lie ahead. To that end, there are tremendous opportunities borne out of the trials that are directly affecting all of us. Skyrocketing housing costs, combating homelessness, limited access to mental health services, hunger disparities, fresh food deserts, eliminating underemployment, ensuring top-tier educational resources, prioritizing public health and safety specifically for the most vulnerable and all of our education stakeholders, human trafficking, crumbling roads and blight, combating escalating crime rates, mandating fair and effective public safety policies and procedures while dismantling systemic social ills which hinder our ability to manifest a city ‘too busy to hate’ or discriminate against ANY of its constituents. These are some of the challenges at hand, I believe we must reconsider our approaches to work through these threats to actualize the continued greatness of our beloved Atlanta. The stark reality is that we can no longer sit by idly, pointing our collective fingers while hoping for ‘others’ to fix the problems from a top-down approach. The aforementioned is an archaic model, whose time has expired, and no longer works. Instead, we must gather ourselves together as streets, blocks and neighborhoods to each become the ‘change we wish to see’ in this city. That is what real community looks like.
I humbly solicit your support and would like to earn your vote to serve as a fresh catalyst for change as your District-1 Atlanta City Council Member. I am called, committed and capable, and I firmly believe we can work together to continually make Atlanta a safe and affordable city where EVERYBODY COUNTS!