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).*

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

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

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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!

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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.

*From:  http://www.holidays.net/kwanzaa/principles.htm

Illegal Tire Dumping

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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”.

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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.

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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!!

Happy Birthday Wishes

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Thanks to all my friends who sent me Happy Birthday wishes today. 

Yep!  I am 40 again!

I spent most the day at City Hall at the Transportation Committee Meeting (it was much longer than usual) doing what I love:  advocating on behalf of residents for equity in local public projects.

After that, I reminded people in my path to early vote or vote on Tuesday, December 4 in the Georgia runoff elections.  The two items on the ballot, Secretary of State and Public Service Commission are very important offices.

For dinner, I ate at one of my favorite vegan restaurants (healthy meals and healthy living can translate into more birthdays!).

I also thanked The Lord for another awesome day and birthday.

 

MLK Medians, A Safety Hazard??

If you drive down MLKing Jr. Drive, you will see medians, that most of the community did not want, are being installed and lanes are being reduced from 4 to 2 with bike lanes.  Emergency vehicles, especially fire trucks may not be able to go around a MARTA bus, garbage truck, GA Power truck (working on power lines), etc. as MLKJr Drive between I-20 and Northside Drive.  This could be a huge public safety disaster. Yet, everyone is passing the buck.
Here are the facts:
MLKing Jr. Drive, a major thoroughfare and state highway, will now have medians that are “cute” yet dysfunctional.  They may actually impede the ability of emergency vehicles (especially fire trucks and ambulances) to navigate and will grossly impede traffic for delivery trucks (including UPS & FedEx), tractor trailers, utility service trucks (including GA Power, as power outages are on the rise), stalled vehicles, accident vehicles, police traffic stops, etc.
After I spoke to ReNew/TSPLOST spokesperson, Joshua Williams (newly appointed ATL Deputy COO) and Public Works Commissioner James Jackson, neither are not sure of the lane measurements.  Neither could assure me or the fire department if the lanes are wide enough….Are you kidding me?
Besides, there was a huge community meeting held at the Adamsville Rec Center to discuss this massive ReNew/TSPLOST expenditure about 2-3 years ago.  It was hosted by “then” City Councilman C.T. Martin.  It was jam packed with residents against the MLKJr Drive medians and reduction of lanes.  Other elected officials attended.  Outcome was: Since residents did not want the MLK medians, between I-20 (at Westview Cemetery) and Fulton Industrial Blvd, Martin said he would keep all four lanes.  Residents asked for sidewalks, street resurfacing, grass cutting & cleaning of highway entrance and exit ramps, etc.
Now it is truly evident this median project has major flaws and is WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS:
1)  Median UNDER the I-20 overpass at MLK & Bolton Road.  Why is it there??
2) Median in front of Fire Station #5 had to be cut back after being installed because the fire engine could not clear it to turn left out of the station (fire department warned before it was done).
3) Median at shopping center at Lynhurst no longer allows left turn from MLK to this popular shopping center
4) NPU-H and others were against medians for reasons including City not having funds to keep the grass cut in the medians. They were right!  Often the grass gets knee high before the City cuts it.
BEFORE more money is wasted, this project needs a public safety check.  Both ReNew and Public Works say, “It should have been done.”  However, they are not sure if it was done.
Upon speaking in public comments at the City of Atlanta Public Safety meeting on Nov. 13 and the Transportation meeting on Nov. 14, I was told to contact Public Works & ReNew (PW&R). Unfortunately, it is clear that PW&R DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON!  ReNew is blaming their woes on increased construction costs. They:
1) are over budget
2) have pushed project dates on most south and southwest side projects forward by 2-4 years or they have no date at all.
In the meantime Campbellton Road between Dobson Drive and Bent Creek cannot get half a mile of sidewalks so the local kids can walk to the Adams Park Library and Young YMCA without walking in the treacherous street.
Also, Council President Moore, at the Nov. 14 Transportation Committee Meeting asked for a full accounting by District of all ReNew/TSPLOST funds spent, cost of projects currently underway, cost of projects pending on the list.
What are your thoughts??