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Reporter’s Notebook: YWCA’s antiracist conversation and more

The Jackson Street Bridge at night by Kemet Alston

The Jackson Street Bridge at night. (Credit: Kemet Alston)

Hold on a little longer and your streams and TV will be free of election ads.

General Election Day is Nov. 3.

If you need an absentee ballot for voting by mail, visit Georgia’s ballot application page.

If you need a free COVID-19 test, Fulton County lists locations.

On to other happenings in metro Atlanta:

What’s next for BeltLine at Murphy Crossing? Stay tuned.

The BeltLine is looking to finish drafting its requirement for a Murphy Crossing developer this fall.

A finalized Request for Proposals should be published this winter, according to a timeline presented Tuesday at a virtual BeltLine study group meeting.

The BeltLine had previously selected Place Properties to re-do the approximately 20-acre site. But the BeltLine and Invest Atlanta terminated the roughly two-year-old agreement earlier this year.

By spring or summer 2021, the BeltLine and Invest Atlanta plan to have picked a developer, who will then start community engagement to see what the neighbors want from the site.

Check out the archived BeltLine presentation at Facebook.

-By Maggie Lee

Metro YWCA puts on virtual ‘Conversation’ on race

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, the author of the ground-breaking book – “How to be an Antiracist”  – was the keynote guest at the YWCA of Greater Atlanta’s annual conversations on race on Sept. 16. Here is a recording of the conversation.

“An anti-racist is someone who is supporting anti-racist behavior,” said Kendi, who engaged in a conversation with Beverly Daniel Tatum, former president of Spelman College and the author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”

Beverly Daniel Tatum and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi during the YWCA of Greater Atlanta “Conversations” Zoom call

Beverly Daniel Tatum and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi during the YWCA of Greater Atlanta “Conversations” Zoom call.

Tatum explained that the choices are being a racist or an antiracist.

Not being a racist “is not an option,” she said. “Everyone says: ‘I’m not a racist’ after they’ve said something or done something that’s racist.”

Kendi compared being diagnosed as a racist to being diagnosed with cancer. When he was in his 30s, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer – which was hard for him to believe.

He realized that “if I don’t get treatment, this diagnosis is only going to get worse,” said Kendi, who added that the same is true for someone who is diagnosed as being a racist.

There’s hope for change. “We are living in the midst of an antiracist revolution,” Tatum said, mentioning the amazing turnout of all races in “Black Lives Matter” protests.

Kendi is the founder of Boston University’s new Center for Antiracist Research, which will explore ways to eliminate systemic racism through data-driven research and policy initiatives.

Sharmen Gowens, CEO of Atlanta’s YWCA, said more than 950 signed up to participate in the Conversation. They are still counting donations, but as of press time, the event had raised $119,000.

Coincidentally, last year’s keynote Conversations speaker was Sharon Tucker, a native of Dublin and the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Georgia’s Law School.  Tucker is Kendi’s mother-in-law.

Of all the Goodwills, North Georgia is No. 1

There are Goodwill organizations all over the United States, but North Georgia’s is now No. 1 in the nation for helping job seekers secure employment.

Goodwill of North Georgia connected more than 27,000 North Georgians to jobs over the past year throughout its 45-county territory, according to the local organization. The nonprofit is also the No. 1Goodwill for serving African American job seekers, as well as #1 for the number of people entering training-related employment, meaning the organization provided workforce development training to a job seeker who was later employed in that field.

Need help finding a job? Goodwill of North Georgia has career centers (and CareerConnector.org) for that.

-By Maggie Lee

Canadian Consul General Nadia Theodore bids farewell to Atlanta

When Nadia Theodore first arrived in Atlanta to be Canada’s consul general for the Southeast three years ago, it was during Hurricane Irma.

Canadian Consul General Nadia Theodore

Canadian Consul General Nadia Theodore

“Now I’m leaving Atlanta during the COVID-19, racial awakening time,” Theodore said during a World Affairs Council of Atlanta virtual meeting on Sept. 15.

Theodore will be leaving in early October to join Ontario-based Maple Leaf Foods as senior vice president of government of industry and global government relations. The food giant employs 13,000 people and does business in the United States, Canada and Asia.

Theodore said she was looking forward to working in the private sector as part of her belief to “try new things” after a career in government – especially in trade. She said she wanted to help in the “cross-pollination” between the public and private sectors.

Although she’s leaving Atlanta, Theodore said she always would have ties to Atlanta, which she described as being supportive and welcoming during her tenure.

“I had fun here. I was able to enjoy myself,” she said. “I want to thank the city for embracing me. I will truly never forget the city. I will be back. It’s now my second home. You can’t get rid of me.”

New PAC, familiar names, raising money to flip Georgia House

Less than two months after setting up, the Georgia Onward PAC has raised $56,000 for 20 Democrats running for state House.

Democrats would need to flip 16 Republican-held seats to get a majority in the state House.

Georgia Onward’s co-founders are former PSC candidate Lindy Miller, former Woodruff Center CEO Doug Shipman and attorney and longtime Democratic activist Karli Swift.

The seats they’re targeting are mostly suburban metro Atlanta areas, though some are in smaller cities like Warner Robins and Milledgeville. Many of the seats were contested by Democrats in 2018 who were poorly financed compared to Republicans.

-By Maggie Lee

Deisha Barnett joins corporate board

Metro Atlanta Chamber executive Deisha Barnett has been named to the board of Urban Skin Rx® – her first corporate board. Urban Skin Rx® is a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color)-focused company.

Barnett is the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s chief brand and communications officer who also heads up its diversity and inclusion efforts.

Deisha Barnett

Deisha Barnett (Credit: Special)

Charlotte-based Urban Skin Rx®, founded in 2010, is a rapidly growing company that advocates for accessible clinical skincare, including addressing the concerns of women with melanin-rich skin tones. The founder and CEO of the company is Rachel Roff.

Rachel and the Urban Skin Rx® team care deeply about their consumer,” Barnett said in a statement. “From building self-confidence through skincare to actively advocating for under-voiced communities, they had equity and inclusion at the center of their work long before these were trending topics.”

Before joining the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Barnett led marketing and communications strategy for Walmart and Procter & Gamble, with a focus on consumer initiatives.

The company also named Melissa Butler, founder and CEO of the Lip Bar LLC, to its board. Butler is a pioneering entrepreneur dedicated to beauty industry diversity, vegan beauty products and the disruption of beauty industry norms.

-By Maria Saporta

New Hires at DS Smith

DS Smith, a big packaging, recycling and papermaking company, announced new folks joining Atlanta headquarters.

Ryan Roberts will serve as the sheeter business unit general manager, and Melanie Galloway will take on the role of vice president of sales, marketing and innovation for packaging.

Roberts’ resume includes senior leadership roles in contract packaging, manufacturing engineering, sales, marketing and commercial operations in the U.S. and Singapore for Unilever and Sealed Air.

Galloway comes from a chemical engineering and business background via FMC Corp., Kemin Industries, JM Huber and MacDermid Graphic Solutions.

-By Maggie Lee

Maggie Lee

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.


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1 Comment

  1. ANN STALLARD September 21, 2020 3:46 pm

    Maria and Maggie thank you for your shout out to the YWCA of Greater Atlanta for their untiring work to help us to be an anti-racists, embrace the real justice issues around us and press onward together with courage to do the right things, right now. Many have brushed aside the YWCA in recent years as an “old school” organization. Having been a YWCA volunteer for more than 45 years it has been anything but old school in my experience. The YWCA has never stepped back or stepped down from the hard work of finding common ground, language that we can hear and the open arms of love to many women and children suffering from being marginalized. BRAVO to the YWCA for never being too tired or too old to answer the clarion call of its mission, “To eliminate racism and empower women for peace, justice, freedom and dignity for ALL”. May every individual and every non-profit in this arena follow the YWCA’s lead.Report


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