Kwanzaa Celebration at Shrine of the Black Madonna

At the Shrine of the Black Madonna in West End, young people help Jumoke Ifetayo light the Kwanzaa candles for the second of seven days of celebration. 

Kwanzaa is started in 1965 by Dr. Maulana Karenga in Chicago.  It is celebrated December 26 – January 1.

The foundation of Kwanzaa are the Seven Principles, or Nguzo Saba. When Dr. Karenga created the kinaracelebration of Kwanzaa he wanted to reflect the best qualities and characteristics of the “first fruit” or harvest festivals that were celebrated throughout Africa. It was these qualities that established the Nguzo Saba, or Seven Principles of Kwanzaa. (Nguzo Saba is Kiswahili for Seven Principles).*



“The children will carry on the traditions of the land. So we must teach them the history”, said the narrator.


These children dance with the rattle instrument, the shekere,  as the narrator tells an African story with drums.


Rev. Keith Slaughter (above), a WAOK talk show host is tonight’s speaker.  He gives the message entitled, “Stand Your Ground”, in celebration of Day 2, Kujichagulia, self-determination. ‘Stand not to kill people, but to claim what is rightfully ours, what we need…our fair share.  Be truthful and put on the full armour of God as you fight for justice in this world. Pray the righteous will be there for us and beware of the haters!’

Rev. Slaughter’s message was powerful, informative, passionate, on point and short!  He was definitely on his game!


A packed crowd looks on at the Shrine of the Black Madonna during the 15th Annual Kwanzaa celebration at 960 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.

There will be five more nights of Kwanzaa at the Shrine with speakers including Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore on Saturday 2pm-6pm, and Rev. Derrick Rice on a Faith Panel on Tuesday, 4pm-8pm.  For more information, call (404) 549-8676 or (404) 444-6696.

Also, the Shrine has free Black History classes every Saturday from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.  Plan to attend with your family and friends.


Illegal Tire Dumping

The serious issue of illegal tire dumping is continuing to get worse. These pictures are in the wooded area on the north side of Campbellton Road between Sandringham and Wells Drive. Please join me in calling 311. A high volume of calls will get faster action…”the squeaky wheel gets the oil”.


We need to call, email, and meet with our legislators to let them know they need to pass tougher legislation with severe penalties for this atrocious crime that affects the health and well-being of our residents.


This is a City, County, and state problem. Please contact all of our elected officials this week AND again in January (State Legislator are pre-filing legislation for the Session that starts in Jan.). We need our elected officials to work collectively to expeditiously solve this problem.

If it is true that tires have unique serial numbers, as mentioned at one NPU meeting, then it should not be difficult to determine what business dumped these tires. In the meantime, perhaps the city can put a locked gate at the entrance (at the orange barriers) to prevent further dumping.

Getting a handle on this problem means resident do not have to worry about mosquitos and the west mile virus next summer.

Thanks in advance for making sure those we elected know about and fix this problem NOW!!

STEM Curriculum Not Concrete!!


Below is a list of APS Board members and others elected who should care about how this extra $2.4 million E-SPLOST funds are being spent.  As I mentioned, this School Board vote occurred Monday, Dec. 5.  With so much going on, the media did not do a story.
However, all metro Atlanta educators and residents should be ANGRY that for more than four years APS said they did not have funds to restore the Harper-Archer Middle School Planetarium and Theater.
Now that extra E/SPLOST funds are available, they have voted to use this $2.4 million to upgrade the building exterior (concrete), parking lot (asphalt), and windows (functional, not damaged; GA Power will fund).  Instead, these tax payer funds should be used for STEM/STEAM academic curriculum Resources for our kids…for access for all 52,000 APS students to have their Planetarium and Theater restored.
Please use, this list.  Wear it out!!  Copy and post this list on ALL your social media so people can express their outrage and DEMAND this $2.4 million be reallocated and spent on the four year old STEM/Planetarium curriculum plan that will help improve student academic achievement and test scores.
Let’s overwhelm their emails and phones all next week.  AND, do it again January 7-21 to as we honor Rev. Dr. M.L.King, Jr. We must persist for equity in education, not in concrete!!
This APS decision is NOT ACCEPTABLE!!
However, we can make it happen… WE CAN HAVE THIS DECISION REVERSED WHEN WE CONSISTENT WORK ON AND ISSUE:  Case in point…The Montgomery
Bus Boycott.
In Montgomery, they did not have social media.  We have social media.  LET’S USE IT TO HELP SAVE OUR KIDS by getting this STEM PROJECT funded!!
Thanks in Advance!!



Jason Esteves, Chair; At-large, 9

404-802-2200 ofc      (404) 802-1204 fax

Cynthia Briscoe Brown, At-large; 8

404-802-2297 ofc

404-376-6080 cell

Kandis Wood Jackson, At-large; 7

404-802-2296 ofc

Eshe’ Collins, District 6

404-802-2295 ofc

770-765-3802 cell

Erika Y. Mitchell, District 5

404-802-2294 ofc vmail               404-709-5515 cell

Nancy M. Meister, vice chair; District 4

404-802-2200 ofc vmail               404-488-9014 cell

Michelle D. Olympiadis, District 3

404-802-2292 ofc vmail               404-502-0825 cell

Byron D. Amos, District 2

404-802-2200 ofc vmail               404-587-6811 cell

Leslie Grant, District 1

404-802-2255 ofc vmail               404-643-9652 cell

Dr. Meria Carstarphen, Superintendent

404-802-2820 office

Other elected officials we can get to use their influence to get this STEM/Planetarium funded with our E-SPLOST tax dollars.  As elected officials, our tax dollars also pay their salaries:

State School Superintendent 

Richard Woods

404-657-1175 ofc           404-651-8737 fax

State Senator Horacena Tate

404-463-8053 ofc            404-893-2119 cell

State Senator Nan Orrock

(404) 463-8054 ofc

State Senator Nikema Williams

(404) 656-5035 ofc

State Representative Sheila Jones

404-656-0126 ofc

State Representative Pat Gardner

(404) 656-0265 ofc

State Representative Marie Metze

(404) 656-6372 ofc

State Representative David Dreyer

(404) 656-0265 ofc

State Representative Park Cannon

(404) 656-7859 ofc

U.S. Congressman John Lewis 

(404) 659-0116 ofc

Atlanta Mayor 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

404-330-6100 ofc

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore

(404) 330-6052 ofc         (404) 739-9240 fax

Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens – Post 3 At-Large

(404) 330-6041 ofc         (404) 739-9250 fax

Atlanta City Councilman Matt Westmoreland – Post 2 Large

(404) 330-6302 ofc         (404) 979-3682 fax

Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond – Post 1 At-Large

(404) 330-6770 ofc         (404) 739-4852 fax

Atlanta City Councilwoman Andrea Boone

(404) 330-6055 ofc         (404) 979-3680 fax

Fulton County Commission Chair Robb Pitts

(404) 613-2330

Fulton County Commissioner Emma Darnell

(404) 612-8222 ofc       (404) 224-3775 fax

Fulton County Commissioner Natalie Hall  

 404-612-8227  ofc

Can Greenbriar Rise as Chamblee Did??

In 1965, Greenbriar Mall opened as the first enclosed mall in the Atlanta area.  It is located on Greenbriar Parkway, just off the S.R. 166 and one block from Campbellton Road. Rich’s, now Macy’s, and J.C. Penney, now Burlington were the mall anchors.  It had movie theaters located on the lower level.  Later those theaters closed and Magic Johnson built the 12 screen theater complex and TGI Friday’s on the back side of the mall, just as he did in Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities.  A few year later, the Magic Theaters and Friday’s closed.  Later, another company reopened the theaters.  By that time Camp Creek movie theaters had opened with digital movie technology.  Still using the old reel-to-reel  technology, the newly re-opened Greenbriar theaters never had a chance against the new digital technology.  No one seems to know why Greenbriar’s new owners did not convert to digital to save the business.

Meanwhile, in the 1970’s and 1980’s Cumberland, South Lake, Shannon, Perimeter and other malls began opening around the metro area.  Lenox Square Mall decided to enclose its’ open air mall more than doubled in size.

The Chik Fil-A was the first inside a mall. It also had one of the first Black Santa’s in the area (and probably the state and southeast).  People still bring their children and grand children from neighboring states to visit its’ very popular Santa.  Circuit City was added in a new building beside Picadilly Restaurant and Cub Foods (now a nursing school) opened on the property.  Over the years the Greenbriar area continued to grow.  As the recession hit the U.S. and local communities, Cub Foods, Circuit City and several other national chains closed.  Across Atlanta, Ford, GM, Scripto, and other manufacturing facilities closed, people lost jobs and homes. The Greenbriar community as many others have faced numerous challenges.  Yet, it seems to be somewhat resilient. Most are grateful that Macy’s is still open and the main mall anchor.  According to mall officials, Burlington will relocate to Camp Creek leaving an opening for retail or mixed use options.

With the MARTA Board recent approval of a Light Rail system to run from Greenbriar/Campbellton Road connecting across town to Emory, Greenbriar’s future is brighter than ever.

Earlier this year, The Atlanta Regional Commission, ARC, funded an update of the 2001 Greenbriar Livable Centers Initiative, LCI. Conducting community meetings at Greenbriar Mall and at the Southside YMCA, the Sizemore Group Planning team has received lots of feedback.  It includes what the community wants and what they do not want in this 2018 plan.  This time, the goal is to move forward and actually implement the plan.  The  question is:  How successful will the Greenbriar LCI be?   Many are committed to staying engaged to make sure the 2018 Plan gets its’ wings.  It is quite exciting!

Upon reading this recent article, I wanted to share it with you because the successful plan in Chamblee can be customized for Greenbriar.  Everyone needs to know what is possible and stay engaged.  So, now it appears the timing is right.  Greenbriar has the perfect opportunity to rise again and sustain itself.  Yay!!

Here is the article from the Atlanta Regional Commission:

While the crowd waited to set foot in the hip, new eatery and check out the festive back patio, Clarkson recalls thinking, “This is crazy: people are lined up along Peachtree Road. When was the last time you saw something like this, in the 1950s?”

Two decades ago, the same Chamblee strip was mostly a concrete desert, defined by vacant buildings and empty parking lots. That describes much of the city at the time, as Chamblee struggled after generations of factory jobs relocated.

Sparking a Renaissance

The turnaround began in 2000 with a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission that helped the city craft a revitalization plan focused on 300 acres near the Chamblee MARTA Station. While some communities fought to keep rail out, Chamblee made a long-term bet that embracing transit would spark a renaissance.


To read the full article, copy and paste the link below.  Or click on it: