Yesterday, July 28, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms implemented a city-wide mask mandate for people in public places and private businesses. The decision was made based on recent CDC recommendations that folks, vaccinated or not, wear a mask in areas of substantial or high transmission. CDC data shows that Fulton and DeKalb County are designated as areas of high transmission.
On to other city news:
On July 22, Kanye West came to Atlanta for an album debut party and hasn’t left since.
He played his 10th album, named “DONDA” after his late mother, for an ecstatic crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
West had planned to release the album last week but has continued to tweak the music and pull at fans’ heartstrings. The release is now slated for early August.
The billionaire rapper hasn’t left the stadium since the concert, a representative told the Associated Press, and he posted a photo of his new digs on Instagram — a locker room.
It’s wacky, but it’s Kanye.
After the show, he was given a certificate marking July 22 as “Kanye Day” in the City of Atlanta, according to TMZ.
Morris Brown College President Kevin James also presented “Dr. Donda West Meritorious Service to Morris Brown College” for West’s mother, who taught at the HBCU.
He’s showing Atlanta some love, and we’re giving it back — But we’ll see how long he can stay in the locker room until Atlanta United gets mad.
– Hannah E. Jones
A Georgia State University Library staff member has recently uncovered unknown photos of pilot Amelia Earhart’s 1934 trip to Atlanta.
The photos were discovered in an envelope labeled “Women pilots, old” and were located just days before Earhart’s birthday on July 24.
The recovered photos capture Earhart showing her plane to visitors, and posing with members of the Ninety Nines, an international women’s pilot group, according to the Georgia State University Library.
– Hannah E. Jones
Last week Clark Atlanta University announced that the student account balances for this year and last year will be cleared and canceled by the HBCU.
“We understand these past two academic years have been emotionally and financially difficult on students and their families due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. George French, president of Clark Atlanta said in a statement.
French said that the funds for the accounts had been provided by the federal CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
He added that “we will continue to do all we can to support their efforts to complete their CAU education.”
The institution says this crucial relief to students is part of the “momentum” they have experienced in the past 16 months.
French continued, “we care about students and want to lighten their individual and family’s financial load so they can continue their journey in pursuing and attaining their educational and professional goals.”
In addition to clearing the accounts, the HEERF funds have provided students with emergency financial aid, 4,000 laptops from Dell Computers, and pro-rated housing and meal charges during the spring 2020 semester.
– Allison Joyner
To help feed hungry children under 6 years old in metro Atlanta, the YMCA of Greater Atlanta this summer is using a portion of a new grant to provide about 150 families with weekly provisions of non-perishable food, fresh fruits and vegetables.
The families that receive the food participate in the YMCA’s Early Learning Readiness program, which is a bilingual mobile program to help children in Hispanic families engage in preschool programs.
The grant was provided by the No Kid Hungry campaign that’s sponsored by the Share Our Strength, a national organization working to decrease food insecurity among children.
“The support we’ve received from Share Our Strength is allowing the Y to expand our hunger relief programs,” Lauren Koontz, president and CEO of YMCA of Metro Atlanta, said in a statement. “We are so appreciative for the assistance we are receiving to help our organization continue to meet the critical needs of our communities.”
– David Pendered
The Alma Domestic Violence Foundation is the new name, paired with a new look, for an organization that’s keeping its same core mission — to support survivors of domestic violence.
The Buckhead-based organization, previously known as the Alma G. Davis Foundation, rebranded to become more accessible for marginalized communities and to strengthen its identity.
“The decision to rebrand was made to further establish a connection between our staff and our clients. In a time of crisis where our services are needed now more than ever, we want to make sure that those in need of help know they always have someone to call,” Founder and CEO Alma G. Davis said in a press release.
The transition will take place on Aug. 2.
The group provides essential services like counseling and legal help and assists with job placement, financial literacy and advocacy for survivors.
The objective is to help victims of domestic abuse become self-sufficient, have financial stability and ensure that they don’t feel alone.
If you or someone you know needs help getting out of a domestic abuse situation, click here to visit the Alma Domestic Violence Foundation’s website. Their 24/7 helpline is 678-957-9464.
– Hannah E. Jones
Due to students’ and families’ financial hardships this past year, Spelman College announced they would clear outstanding balances for the 2020-2021 semesters and reset tuition and fees back to 2017-2018 rates.
Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of the all-women college, said in a statement that this reset to rates from four years ago will have a long-term impact on affordability.
“Spelman’s in-depth study into financial aid needs of our students several years ago reinforces our understanding of one of the country’s fundamental inequities: high performing and high need students are drastically underfunded,” said Campbell.
The adjusted tuition and fees reset is a 14 percent discount from the 2020-2021 rates.
The HBCU said this is made possible by funds from the federal government.
The statement added that the federal funds have contributed to the college providing partial refunds to students during the spring 2020 semester, emergency student financial aid grants for this year and a forthcoming partnership with ride-share company Lyft to offer subsidized rides to 500 students living off-campus and without their own transportation.
– Allison Joyner
Health insurance provider UnitedHealthcare has awarded a total of $500,000 to six community-based organizations in Georgia. The Empowering Health grants are intended to expand access to care and address social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.
The grantees include:
– David Pendered
Header image: A mural by George F. Baker III on Ponce de Leon Ave (Credit: Hannah E. Jones)