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Reporter’s Notebook: Defend Atlanta Forest to hold ‘Week of Action,’ CAU baseball player killed on campus, Delta CEO recognized with multiple awards

The week in local news.

March 8 marks Holi, a holiday that originated in India and celebrates the end of winter and the return of spring — representing the triumph of good over evil. The day is also referred to as the festival of color, with singing, dancing and throwing powder paint and colored water on each other. Each color has its own meaning, like red symbolizing love and green for new beginnings. There are a few Holi events happening locally, like at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Duluth’s Gwinnett County Public Library.

On to other local news:

Defend the Atlanta Forest to hold ‘Week of Action’ March 4-11

The “Defend the Atlanta Forest” protest movement has announced a “Week of Action” March 4-11.

The movement opposes two controversial, adjacent projects in southwest DeKalb County: Atlanta’s public safety training center – dubbed “Cop City” by protesters – and a land swap of part of Intrenchment Creek Park to a private developer. Domestic terrorism charges against some protesters and the police killing of protester Manuel “Tortuguita” Paez Terán, who allegedly shot and wounded a state trooper, are also subjects of the “Week of Action.”

A calendar of events ranges from protests and rallies to art classes, a music festival, forest tours and “Dungeons & Dragons” roleplaying. The events are scheduled to kick off with a protest and rally March 4 at 11 a.m. at DeKalb’s Gresham Park, 3113 Gresham Road. Many events including the March 4 to 5 music festival are scheduled for the disputed Intrenchment Creek Park land at 3251 West Side Place, which protesters call Weelaunee People’s Park.

Other protest sites on the calendar include Downtown and Cobb County jail.

The “Week of Action” comes during a pending appeal of the training center’s land-disturbance permit and mutiny and transparency problems with its advisory committee. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens has responded with a new “task force” that attempts to merge the training center planning with a larger forest concept.

John Ruch

CAU baseball player killed near AUC Catholic Center

On Tuesday evening, Atlanta Police Department (APD) responded to a shooting on the campus of Clark Atlanta University (CAU) leaving one student dead. 

Jatonne Sterling, 20, was killed in front of the Lyke House Catholic Center at the Atlanta University Center on Beckwith Street. A Chicago native, Sterling was a sophomore and a member of the CAU baseball team.  

According to APD, no suspect is in custody and is asking for the public’s help to find that person. 

If you know any information regarding this shooting APD asks that you call CrimeStoppers at 404-577-TIPS or submit an anonymous tip online.

— Allison Joyner

Delta CEO Ed Bastian. (Photo by Maria Saporta)

ADL Southeast to honor Ed Bastian with Torch of Liberty Award

And the awards for Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian keep on coming.

The Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region will present the 2023 Torch of Liberty Award to Bastian at the Delta Flight Museum on March 30.

“Delta and Ed Bastian represent the best of Atlanta’s corporate leadership,” said Barry Berlin, co-chair of the Torch of Liberty Award Committee. “As our region’s largest employer, Delta invests millions in people, neighborhoods and nonprofit organizations; leading by example, they make our region more inclusive and equitable.”

Ilene Berman, co-chair of the committee, said Atlanta’s reputation as a city too busy to hate is largely credited to citizens like Bastian and companies like Delta.

“We are thrilled to honor them for standing up for the passage of Georgia’s Hate Crimes Law and leading the way on diversity and inclusion in the Southeast,” Berman said.

The Torch of Liberty Celebration is a key fundraiser supporting ADL Southeast’s efforts in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate and antisemitism across the region.

Bastian and Delta are being honored for their commitment to community engagement and championing diversity, equity and inclusion. Bastian, who has been with Delta for 24 years, has been a champion of putting Delta’s values of honesty, integrity, respect, perseverance, and servant leadership at the core of every decision, according to ADL Southeast.

— Maria Saporta

National Center for Civil and Human Rights Board welcomes two new members

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights welcomed two local leaders to its Board of Directors, and are invited to serve two three-year terms. The newest additions will support The Center’s efforts to create empathy-building experiences, create conversations and promote civil and human rights locally and beyond.

The new members include:

  • Garry Capers, division president and member of the executive leadership team at Deluxe Corporation. He has fifteen years of experience in financial technology.
  • Tim Wilkerson, senior vice president of sales and service at The Home Depot. He joined the team in 1996 and has since held several roles focused on logistics and operations.

“We are deeply proud that The Center continues to attract exceptional leaders from Atlanta and around the country to help us carry out our mission to promote rights and justice, especially as we expand our campus and programming into a national hub for education, conversations, and training to inspire people to protect human dignity,” Board Chair and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin wrote in a release.

At the end of 2022, a few board members completed their terms, including Susan Bell, Doug McNeely and Paul Viera.   

— Hannah E. Jones

Ed Bastian, Kathy Waller and John Hancock at JA Hall of Fame gala. (Special: Junior Achievement of Georgia.)

Junior Achievement’s 33rd Hall of Fame

Delta Air Lines stole the show at the Feb. 25 Junior Achievement of Georgia’s Hall of Fame at Flourish in Buckhead.

The two inductees were Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines; and Kathy Waller, a member of Delta’s board of directors.

And the board chair of JA of Georgia is Tad Hutcheson, Delta’s managing director of community engagement and senior vice president of the Delta Air Lines Foundation.

But what stole the show was when Frank Blake, the non-executive chair of Delta’s board, gave closing remarks to congratulate Bastian and Waller for the “great honor” of being inducted into the prestigious JA Hall of Fame.

Ed Bastian and Frank Blake at the reception before the JA Hall of Fame dinner. (Photo by Maria Saporta.)

“It is my privilege to announce a very special surprise,” said Blake, a retired CEO of the Home Depot. “In honor of Ed and Kathy, the Delta Air Lines Foundation has approved a $1 million gift in support of JA and 3DE.”

Of course, the true star of the night was Junior Achievement, which seeks to inspire and prepare students to succeed in a global economy by teaching financial literacy and business practices. One of JA’s high-profile offerings is its Discovery Center, where students play roles in running a business or living within a budget.

John Hancock, president and CEO of JA of Georgia, said they have broken ground on the sixth Discovery Center in Georgia in Augusta, which is scheduled to open in late 2023.

“When it opens, more than half of Georgia’s middle school students will participate annually in JA BizTown and JA Finance Park, the programs inside of our centers,” Hancock said.

With the addition of Bastian and Waller, the JA Laureate Society now has 101 leaders, which Bastian described as a “Who’s Who” of leadership in Georgia.

“It’s really very, very humbling,” Bastian said. “To be able to do it with my close friend Kathy Waller is very, very special.”

Bastian then highlighted three former inductees for being especially influential in his life. Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young who used to serve on Delta’s board was thanked for pushing the airline to serve the continent of Africa. 

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was thanked for standing by the airline during “some of our worst times,” and she fought to “keep Delta our Delta” during a takeover attempt. And Bastian also thanked Blake, who “has been the chairman during my entire tenure as CEO, now seven years.”

Waller, who worked at the Coca-Cola Co. for 32 years culminating as the company’s chief financial officer, described her Atlanta journey, which now includes serving as executive director of the influential Atlanta Committee for Progress. It includes 40 top corporate and civic leaders in the Atlanta region.

“Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, here I am,” Waller said.

— Maria Saporta

Raspberry Rally. (Photo courtesy of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.)

Girl Scouts releases new limited-edition cookie flavor

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta (GSGATL) recently debuted the new 2023 Girl Scout Cookie — Raspberry Rally. The photo on the box features actual Atlanta Girl Scouts. 

The new flavor is sold from now until March 31. It’s similar to the Thin Mint but, rather than mint, pairs a crispy raspberry-flavored with the chocolate coating.

All proceeds will fund local programs and efforts, including camp scholarships, volunteer training and special events. Troops keep 18 to 20 percent to support activities like travel or community service projects.

To find a cookie booth near you, click here.

Update: The Raspberry Rally is sold out.

— Hannah E. Jones

A rendering of the mural. (Courtesy of the Vecino Group.)

New mural will honor former East Point Mayor

Earlier this month, housing developer Vecino Group and the East Point Housing Authority (EPHA) announced a mural honoring the city’s former mayor Patsy Jo Hilliard. 

The mural will be installed at the Aya Tower redevelopment building on Connally Drive. 

“In addition to providing affordable homes, Aya Tower offered a unique opportunity to create something truly positive and impactful through art,” said Michael Spann, Executive Director for EPHA. 

Atlanta-based artist Erica Chisolm has been commissioned to create the mural with Hilliard showcased in the center. 

As the longest-tenured mayor, Hilliard made history as the first female and African American to hold office in East Point and Georgia. While in office, Hilliard revitalized the public library, delivered the city’s first community health clinic, and fostered relationships with civic and business leaders that brought growth opportunities to the city. 

The mural will be installed later this spring and completed from mid-May to mid-June.  

— Allison Joyner

Jim Yong Kim. (Photo courtesy of the American Korean Friendship Society.)

American Korean Friendship Society selects recipients for annual awards

The American Korean Friendship Society (AFKS) is hosting its annual 2023 New American Hero Award dinner on March 3 to honor Americans of Korean descent who have made a significant impact in the U.S. The awardees encourage and empower Korean Americans to serve their local communities and nation.

The 2023 New American Hero Award recipient is Jim Yong Kim, vice chairman and partner at Global Infrastructure Partners. Previously, he served as President of Dartmouth College, President of the World Bank Group, former Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department and co-founder of Partner in Health.

Additionally, Abraham Kim was selected for the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. Kim is the executive director of the Council of Korean Americans, an organization dedicated to positive initiatives and empowerment within the Korean American community.

AKFS is an Atlanta-based nonprofit and non-political civic organization that works to ​​celebrate and strengthen the relationship between the Republic of Korea and the U.S.

— Hannah E. Jones

DisABILITY LINK to hold annual gala

DisABILITY LINK, a service organization run by and for people with disabilities, has scheduled its annual fundraising gala for April 22.

The Tucker-based organization is part of the Centers for Independent Living (CIL) system, where disabled people, with government funding, lead groups to connect people to various services. DisABILITY LINK is metro Atlanta’s CIL.

The gala’s keynote speaker is Yvette Pegues, co-founder of the nonprofit Your Invisible Disability Group and an expert on disabled diversity, equity and inclusion policies.

The gala also will have dinner, dancing, music and a silent auction. The event will have COVID-19 safety protocols.

The gala is scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m. at the Courtyard Atlanta Decatur Downtown/Emory hotel in Decatur. Tickets are $75. For more information, see the disABILITY LINK website.

— John Ruch

AGCO Corporation donates to earthquake relief

AGCO Corporation, Your Agriculture Company — a manufacturer and distributor of agricultural machinery and precision technology — donated $650,000 to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide direct support for earthquake response in Türkiye. The Republic of Türkiye changed its name from The Republic of Turkey in May 2022. 

UNICEF teams are working with partners to supply residents with essential supplies like blankets, clothing, drinking water and sanitation supplies. An estimated 5.4 million children live in the provinces affected and 2.5 million need immediate support. 

“The impact of the earthquakes on children and families has been catastrophic, leaving hundreds of thousands in a desperate situation,” wrote Bettina Junker, executive director of UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein. “We are doing everything in our power to ensure that all those affected by the disaster receive the support they need.” 

— Hannah E. Jones

Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native and Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for two newspapers. Hannah managed the Arts and Living section of The Signal, Georgia State’s independent award-winning newspaper. She has a passion for environmental issues, urban life and telling a good story. Hannah can be reached at hannah@saportareport.com.


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