Guest Columns

Time has arrived to unite for Atlanta’s kids

By Guest Columnist DAVID SUITTS, founder of Unite For Kids Atlanta

When people ask why I care about early childhood development, I think back to when I first thought I could maybe teach.

There’s a Youtube video of that summer: I’m filming and talking at three girls, none whom could be older than 6 years.

Atlanta’s voice needed to fight offshore drilling

By Guest Columnist BILL SAPP, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center

In the past year, the devastation inflicted from hurricanes Matthew and Irma serves as a stark reminder that Georgia’s coast is vulnerable to the vagaries of nature. Wrecking countless homes and businesses, and shredding boats and docks along the entire coast, these hurricanes flooded St. Marys and Tybee Island, pounded the beaches of Jekyll Island and Cumberland Island, and overtopped the sea walls in Savannah and St. Simons.

Climate change causes must be confronted in Georgia

By Guest Columnist DAVID KYLER, executive director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, located on St. Simons

A crucial distinction in determining the best course of action on climate change is the difference between reacting to the impacts of our overheating climate versus reducing the causes of this increasingly destructive global disruption. Unfortunately, Georgia’s state officials have consistently limited their efforts to the former, while willfully suppressing consideration of the latter.

Atlanta’s housing policies must be well-funded, comprehensive, inclusive

By Guest Columnist DAN IMMERGLUCK, a professor in the Urban Studies Institute at Georgia State University

In the book, City on the Verge, author Mark Pendergrast points out some of the challenges that the Atlanta BeltLine and the rest of Atlanta face in terms of housing affordability. He argues, for example, that the City should adopt mandatory inclusionary zoning, with a sliding scale to address the truly impoverished, as soon as possible in order to address the problem of declining affordability.

Can a BeltLine park provide recreation on, beside, a drinking water reservoir?

By Guest Columnist MARK PENDERGRAST, an Atlanta native and author of ‘City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future.’

Does Atlanta have the creative capacity and vision to develop the Westside Park as a true community asset? Will the new lake there be its beloved recreational center? The park is literally the biggest promise of the Atlanta BeltLine.

A tour of Labor Day weekend, 1967, through archives of Atlanta History Center

By Guest Columnist BO HIERS, who recently “semi-retired” from a 35-year career in the reinsurance industry and is a newly-minted volunteer at the Atlanta History Center.

So all this really happened 50 years ago in Atlanta. You can check it out yourself at the Atlanta History Center’s Kenan Research Center. You’ll need to drop by the check-in desk and create a Patron Card for yourself. You may even have to leave a few things in a locker as well, including any ink pens, before you are granted access. But once inside, you have a veritable treasure trove of historical gems at your disposal.

Atlanta’s David Duke ponders what’s in a name

By Guest Columnist DAVID HUGHES DUKE, president of Living Stories Film and Video, which produces video for corporations and non-profit organizations, and creates independent films for public television

I have long known that life is relationships. My parents taught me this, my faith tells me this, and my experience proves it true.

Happy news on the refugee front, in Clarkston

By Guest Columnist JILL ROBBINS, chief program officer for the non-profit Soccer in the Streets

Judging from the headlines, you’d think there’s no such thing as happy news on the refugee front. As someone who works directly with refugee kids in Clarkston, I can tell you there is so much more to the story. I see happiness in the faces of refugee kids every day in my role as chief program officer for Soccer in the Streets, where I have worked in youth development for more than 20 years.

Congress should protect Georgia’s young immigrants by enacting Dream Act of 2017

By Guest Columnist ANÍBAL TORRES, executive director of Atlanta’s Latin American Association

The fate of nearly 29,000 young immigrants who live in Georgia hangs in the balance. The attorneys general of nine states and one governor have told President Trump that if he does not start phasing out a 2012 program that allows DREAMers to work and live in this country without fear of deportation, they will file a lawsuit in September to end the program. Without this protection, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, these young people could face deportation.

Demolition of Jordan Hall another sign of Atlanta’s dereliction of historic buildings

By Guest Columnist JAY SCOTT, a principal at Green Rock Partners, an Atlanta-based firm specializing in urban design, landscape architecture and planning

The Metro Atlanta YMCA is about to destroy a significant part of civil rights history in the African American Community, historic Jordan Hall. They are not doing it alone.

Their primary partners are the Woodruff Foundations and Invest Atlanta, who have given more than half of the $20 million necessary.

From crisis to Beloved Community

By Guest Columnist Dr. R.W. WILLS, Sr., pastor of Friendship Baptist Church

In his highly regarded work, Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities, Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Jr. proposed a blueprint for constructive community restoration. He offered this thoughtful text recognizing that many of our urban communities across our nation are once again experiencing the chaotic effects of being separate and unequal.

Moreland Avenue’s remake will promote alternative transit in a growing community

By Guest Columnist CARL HOLT, an avid promoter of bicycling who volunteered as project manager for the installation of Atlanta’s first bike corral, in the Kirkwood neighborhood

The Georgia Department of Transportation, along with City of Atlanta and Little Five Points Community Improvement District, has been working to transform a half-mile section of Moreland Avenue (U.S. 23/Ga. 42) from a traditional urban highway to a Complete Street. A Complete Street usually involves a road diet, to provide a safer corridor for all modes of transportation. What is unique about this corridor is that Moreland Avenue is a six-lane roadway passing through one of Atlanta’s more pedestrian active business districts, Little Five Points.

Why ‘We the People’ need the Legal Services Corp.

By Guest Columnist JOHN BARROW, representative of Georgia’s 12th Congressional District from 2005 through 2015

When I was in Congress I was able to help a lot of folks get their Social Security or VA benefits, and I got a lot of hugs from those I was able to help. Now I’m working as a volunteer in a legal aid office supported by the Legal Services Corp. And just the other day I got a hug from a victim of domestic violence I’d helped get a protective order.

Facing federal budget cuts, Georgia alone cannot bear the brunt of environmental protection

By Guest Columnist GIL ROGERS, director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Georgia and Alabama offices

On July 4th, many Georgians celebrate by heading outdoors to cool off in rivers and lakes around the state, hike trails around Georgia’s state parks, and enjoy the fireworks after running Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10K.

To revitalize Atlanta, let’s incorporate local black business, economic communities

By Guest Columnist JOSEPH R. HUDSON, chair of the Economic Development Committee of the Atlanta branch of the NAACP

We pride ourselves on being “a city too busy to hate” and boast about the leadership class of black individuals who pepper the Atlanta backdrop. However, we refuse to use that same spirit of fact and community to promote the entire city and to utilize more than a few personalities. Should we not recognize a historic black community, its people, businesses, culture, history, and future as important reasons for Atlanta’s overall success as a city?

Georgians, state treasury to suffer under President Trump’s budget plan

By Guest Columnist TAIFA BUTLER, executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

Georgians can find a lot not to like in the federal budget President Trump is proposing. It jeopardizes the state’s financial stability. It promises to hurt the ability of millions of Georgians to meet basic living standards. Even Social Security disability benefits are slashed in the planned budget cuts.

Faith community stepping up on climate change

By Guest Columnist SUSAN VARLAMOFF, coauthor of the ‘Laudato Si Action Plan’ and author of ‘Sustainable Gardening for the Southeast’

Nature abhors a vacuum. With the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord, there is a void in global leadership on climate change that others are willing and able to fill it. Countries like China, Germany and France are stepping up. In the U.S., states, cities, universities, corporations, and even churches are voluntarily reducing greenhouse emissions in the spirit of the Paris climate accord.

Yes, you can bike in Atlanta

By Guest Columnist KEVIN H. POSEY, an advocate for sustainable transportation and urban development practices worldwide

Atlanta is notorious for being a car-dependent city. Whether it’s minor snowstorms that create scenes akin to a bad disaster movie or burning bridges made of steel and concrete – materials not known for their combustibility – Atlanta’s car addiction is now in the same league as that of legendary Los Angeles. But in a revolutionary change of direction, the bike is being elevated as a legitimate way to get around for those of us who wouldn’t be caught dead in Lycra.