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).*

166ED462-C1E1-4330-9447-6780019585C3

 

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

9C464653-8C58-4F95-9EFB-C9144C4B9A13

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

AA567646-1BD0-4367-95DD-1BC858AD4891

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!

E31DAAA7-5FF8-4BD9-A136-537F1F1BF07C

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

70 Atlanta Residents Say Bad Gulch Deal

0D3CC051-D9E3-4394-B1B7-728600525C21

Yesterday’s Atlants City Council meeting heard over three hours of public hearing from residents on a variety of topics. However, over 80% were appealing to the Council to either slow down or scrap the Gulch Project being proposed by the “Armani suit wearing” development team, CIM Group, from California.

After receiving the 600 page proposal document, myselfnand others have more questions than answers.  As I put on my banker hat to review this complex deal with Georgia Stand Up, the nonprofit for which I am the Public Policy Coordinator, a researcher from Georgia Tech and independent attorneys; I am shocked and embarrassed that this 30 year deal gives away prime Atlanta property with no ownership or financial gain for residents other than inflated projections of jobs and benefits. It reveals $1.7 Billion in tax payer funds being diverted from our schools and desperately needed neighborhood infrastructure projects that includes sidewalks so our kids do not have to walk in the street to get to the library in places like Campbellton Road on the southwest side.

AB0EE8D6-8211-4530-A23D-EA9AFD69F12C

Senator Vincent Fort warned, “Someone one is going to jail from decisions made three years ago involving the Airport contracts, the BeltLine and the Emory annexation deal so they could get a MARTA station.  And, someone will go to jail three years from now if you approve this deal…which one if you will it be?  Or do you have the guts to represent the people who elected you?

As the Work Session questions by Councilman Amir Farokhi revealed, there are 1,500 construction workers per year. The document as taken 1,500 and multiplied it by some factor of 20 (years) to derive the false number of 35,000 construction jobs. Questions by Council member Matt Westmoreland also sought to get to shed light on what is contained in these 600 pages.  I am both sadden and disappointed that our mayor is pushing a deal by a developer who has a history of bad deals.

You see, the Mayor needs eight votes to pass legislation.  Word on the street is she had six firm votes, possibly seven.  When it was confirmed that Councilman Ivory Young would not be able to attend or vote by phone in yesterday’s meeting due to his stem cell medical treatments, the vote was removed from the agenda.

The diverse group of speakers were clear in their call to not rush this deal through the legisltive process and be more transparent.  The call was so strong that yesterday’s scheduled vote on this deal was cancelled.  And, Mayor Bottoms has called a meeting on Wednesday, September 26, at City Hall at 6pm.

Georgia Stand Up Executive Director Deborah Scott reminded City Council when they ran for Office, none of them, not even the Mayor mentioned the Gulch as an area of importance at any of their debates or in their platform issues.  She went on to say all of them mentioned community development, transparency, and affordable housing and she has tapes of those forums to prove what they said.  “So why is it that this project is all of a sudden so important, …slow this process down!  Give everyone a chance to see what this is all about and be transparent.”

In the words of Sean King, “When we organize we win.”  So thanks the organizations that include Georgia Stand Up and the Housing Justice League.  Thanks also to community leaders who also came to speak against this plan that includes:  Former City Councilman & WAOK Radio Host, Derrick Boazman; Former GA State Senator Vincent Fort; Internation Human Rights Advocate, Joe Beasley; APAB Officer James “Jim” Martin, and NPU-R member Edith Ladipo.

356A2370-9DB6-4129-9F0B-50B81B89D369.jpeg

Joe Beasley warned that this is a volatile situation and residents are tired of their elected officials not representing their best interest.  He went on to warn that it is going to blow up if you do not change who you represent when you vote on issues harm residents.

226DC75E-9727-496B-B97F-F999AC1F79DC

Despite this challenging day, City Council President Felicia Moore did a great job to move the speakers along several hours of passionate public comments.

My comments included that as the Jewel of the south, Home of Civil Rights, we have to get the Gulch deal right . Atlanta has an opportunity to set the standard across the state, region, and nation on how to do an economic development deal that is in the best interest of the residents.  If we get this right, even more people will want to move, do business and visit Atlanta. We do not have to do business with the devil, the CIM Group because there are more ethical developers.  And, we definitely do not have to give away the bank!

As Atlanta residents come together to demand that their council members represent their interests and not the interest of the developers, we/they will get a different result than had we remained silent.  This is democracy at its’ finest!!  So, start and continue conversations on your social media and within your circle of friends about The Gulch Project, More MARTA, Fort McPherson, and recent eminent domain issues.  Today’s action or inaction today has massive consequences tomorrow, next year and decades from now, so “stay woke”, stay informed and show up to shape the future.

For more details on this “bad deal”, read today’s (9/18/18) page one story in the AJC:  “Mayor Delays Council Vote on Gulch Deal” by Stephen Deere (sdeere@ajc.com) and J. Scott Trubey (strubey@ajc.com).  In this article, Deere and Trubey outline each aspect of this complicated 600 page proposal in laymen’s terms.

Atlanta Mayoral Inauguration Events On Jan. 2, 2018

Here are the details for the inauguration of Atlanta’s 60th Mayor. The events are free and open to the public.  Arrive an hour early to park (parking deck is not free) and get one of the 2,500 seats at the M.L.King Jr. Chapel. Or, take MARTA to avoid traffic congestion.

This would be a great opportunity for you to take a student or young adult.  Students can learn:
1) who are these elected officials
2) what they do
3) which one(s) represents their area
4) how to talk about it on social media
4) how policies made by elected officials  affect them now and in years to come
5) to memorialize the occasion by taking pictures at the event with these elected officials at the end of the Inauguration and all during the reception.

Inauguration Day Schedule Of Events
Tuesday January 2, 2018

Interfaith Worship Service – 8am
Impact Church
2323 Sylvan Road, Atlanta, GA 30344

Inaugural Ceremonies – 1pm
MLK Jr. International Chapel
Morehouse College
830 Westview Dr. SW, Atlanta, GA 30314
(doors open 11:30am)

One Atlanta – Citizen’s Reception – 5:30pm – 8:30am
Atlanta City Hall Atrium
55 Trinity Street, Atlanta, GA 30303
(Including Inaugural Community Service Project-
Please bring school supplies for APS students)

* * *

 

98th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote

 

This is an exert from Atlanta City Councilwoman Felicia Moore’s newsletter:

As you may know, us “today represents the 98th anniversary of our country’s passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote.

Because of strong women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott, winning the right to vote became the centerpiece of the women’s suffrage movement.

It took 70 years to get the amendment passed.

When citizens come together in a democracy to right a wrong, it serves everyone That was true 97 years ago and it is true today.  Yes. There is strength in numbers.  With social media, it is easier to inform, educate and gather like-minded  people. With “people pressure” in the form of peaceful protests and voting the whole ballot in every election.

So are you watching what’s happening, denying what’s happening, or helping to make things happen??

Because of the internet, we can research almost everything and get information we need to make informed decisions within a few keystrokes. So, get involved in the issues you care about and it won’t take 70 years, or 70 months to effect much needed change(s) in public policy.  Today, great things can happen in 70 weeks, 70 days and 70 hours.

Read more about the women’s suffrage movement, lead by Susan B. Anthony and two rival organizations that merged to get this done:

http://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_the_United_States