The week in local news.

On Friday, Sept. 22, the annual ELEVATE festival will kick off to showcase the work of local artists and celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip hop. ELEVATE will include four weeks of free programming, including artist talks, film screenings, art walks, community celebrations and more. Click here to check out the event schedule, which runs until Sunday, Oct. 15.

On to other local news:

Local leaders present plans through Metro Atlanta Wellbeing Initiative 

After completing an eight-month course through the Metro-Atlanta Cities Wellbeing Initiative, metro Atlanta leaders presented their plans to improve the quality of life in their communities. 

Through the Metro-Atlanta Cities Wellbeing Initiative, city officials, staff and community leaders learned about local well-being metrics, stewardship, social determinants of health and equity to improve the overall quality of life for their constituents. The program was developed in partnership with the Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI), the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) and the National League of Cities

The final meeting was held at the end of August, and participants presented the plans for their communities. The plans include:

  • The City of Atlanta strengthened its partnership with Jean Childs Young Middle School to support the City’s Year of the Youth initiative, which aims to reduce violence, increase access to quality education and improve mental health.
  • Chamblee is prioritizing housing-related initiatives. 
  • College Park is advocating for increased food access around the city and forming partnerships that encourage a supermarket opening.  
  • Decatur emphasizes physical activity among adults, particularly older adults, by identifying physical health activity needs and barriers to access.
  • East Point is supporting its ongoing Healthy Point initiative by collecting data to show its impact and developing health equity policies.

Leaders from Atlanta, Chamblee, College Park, Decatur and East Point were also awarded $4,500 to support their plans.

— Hannah E. Jones

A compost delivery to Mena’s Farm in Atlanta. (Photo by Caleb Jones, courtesy of Food Well Alliance.)

East Point opens first city-wide compost program in metro Atlanta

Next week, the City of East Point will kick off its city-wide community compost program, the first in the metro area. The city is partnering with CompostNow and Food Well Alliance to offer this free drop-off program for residents.

After the food scraps have been composted, the organic material will be given for free to local farmers and growers. This is a two-year pilot program that is primarily funded through a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

CompostNow offers composting programs in Georgia, the Carolinas and Ohio. Since its inception, the company has diverted over 65 million pounds from landfills. Foodwell Alliance is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that aims to support local growers, community gardens and urban farms.

Click here to learn more about East Point’s compost program.

— Hannah E. Jones

Two more Georgia protesters may be eligible for New York police settlement

Two additional protesters with Georgia ties may be eligible for settlement payouts in a New York City class-action lawsuit about police misconduct.

The lawsuit Sierra v. City of New York focused on the treatment of more than 300 people at a 2020 protest in the Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood that was part of the national reaction to the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd. Pending court approval at an Oct. 24 hearing, the settlement will pay each protester $21,500, with some gaining an additional $2,500. 

As SaportaReport previously reported, among the class-action protesters is Jim “Fergie” Chambers Jr., the Cox scion who recently broke from his family over their support of the Atlanta public safety training center. While active in local political organizing and a member of the Cox family, whose Cox Enterprises and such subsidiaries as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are Atlanta-based, Chambers currently lives in New Hampshire.

Ali Frick, one of the attorneys suing the City, now tells SaportaReport that two Georgia residents filed claims to be included in the settlement. One was arrested, Frick said, while the other says he was in a group “kettled” or entrapped by police. The City may contest the inclusion of that allegedly “kettled” person, she said.

The Mott Haven case is one of two major class-action settlements announced this year regarding coordinated police misconduct against protesters. The other is Sow v. City of New York, which has a class of approximately 1,380 protesters involved in 18 separate protests across the city over a week in 2020. An attorney in that case previously told SaportaReport that at least one Georgian – whose name is confidential in sealed records – is a member of that class.

— John Ruch

VOX Teen Communications receiving their grant. (Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation.)

Atlanta Women’s Foundation hands out grants to 21 local nonprofits

Several local nonprofits have received grants totaling $1.14 million from the Atlanta Women’s Foundation (AWF). The funds were doled out to 21 nonprofits serving women and girls in Clayton, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett and Fulton Counties.

The local recipients were awarded their grants at the Ansley Golf Club on Aug. 24. Awardees include Agape Community Center, H.O.P.E., Inc. and Quality Care for Children.

In tandem with AWF’s 25th anniversary, the organization is also kicking off its All Girls Forward Empowerment Program. Through this initiative, AWF will award $2.5 million over five years to 10 local nonprofits offering girls-serving programs.

— Hannah E. Jones

Atlanta Ethics Office to mark 20th anniversary

The City of Atlanta Ethics Office will mark its 20th anniversary with a Sept. 12 event.

Running 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in City Hall Atrium, the event will highlight “the importance of ethical conduct and responsible decision-making in government and public service,” according to a press release.

Along with food and trivia, it will feature several speakers. Among them will be Mayor Andre Dickens, City Council President Doug Shipman, and Kedric Payne, vice president and ethics director at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on election law enforcement.

The Ethics Office performs education and enforcement of the City’s ethics code and collects financial disclosures from City officials. It is one of four City watchdog agencies for misconduct or abuse, including the Office of the Inspector General, the City Auditor’s Office and the Atlanta Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards.

“Our journey has been filled with challenges, [but] nonetheless, marked by our unwavering commitment to promoting ethical principles and ensuring that our city’s actions are guided by honesty, integrity and trust,” said Ethics Officer Jabu M. Sengova in the press release. “I am proud to be part of that story.”

— John Ruch

The team is seeking 10 volunteers per day. (Courtesy of TCG Impact.)

UPS, TCG Impact launches Delivering Democracy tour at APS high schools

Last month, the TCG Impact, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, and Atlanta Public Schools announced a groundbreaking initiative — The Delivering Democracy Tour, sponsored by UPS. 

The tour seeks to harness the power of culture, commerce, civics and community to equip students with information and resources to engage in the civic process actively. 

The tour will take place today through Sept. 19 at seven APS high schools and reach over 3,000 11th and 12th-grade students to demonstrate that there is “no offseason for democracy.” 

“The Delivering Democracy Tour showcases to young people that engaging in civic life can be enjoyable, celebratory, and empowering. Whether becoming poll workers in their counties at 16, attending a neighborhood meeting, pledging to talk with their families about voting, or running for SGA in their school, our goal is to spark an early interest in civic engagement that endures college, career, and life, said Jacoria Borders President and CEO of TCG Impact. “We want our scholars to know they have agency; they don’t have to wait for anyone to lead, and we plan to celebrate them and their work every step of the way.”

Here are the schools the tour is scheduled to appear: 

Sept. 7 Benjamin E. Mays HS

Sept. 8 Maynard H. Jackson HS

Sept. 11 D.M. Therrell HS

Sept. 12 Booker T. Washington HS

Sept. 15 South Atlanta HS

Sept. 18 Fredrick Douglas HS and The BEST Academy

For more information or to volunteer, click on the TCG Impact website

— Allison Joyner

Covenant House Georgia announces annual Sleep Out, event chairs

Covenant House Georgia, a nonprofit serving youth experiencing homelessness and escaping trafficking, recently announced details for its 12th Sleep Out. 

The annual event will be held at the Covenant House’s campus, and participants will sleep outside to better understand the challenges of young people in crisis. Covenant House residents will also join to share their experiences.

The Nov. 16 event brings together local leaders, community members and advocates to raise awareness and funds to support Georgia youth who are experiencing homelessness. The 2023 Sleep Out Event Co-Chairs include:

  • Stephanie Blank, founding chair of the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students
  • Holli Easton – chief growth officer at Forwardly
  • Karyn Froseth, senior director of Kellogg Company
  • Jo Ann Herold, founder and CEO at Herold Growth Consulting
  • Wonya Lucas, president and CEO of Hallmark Media

For additional information, click here.

— Hannah E. Jones

ATC hosts 5K Fun Run

On Sept. 30, Atlanta Technical College will be hosting its 3rd annual 5K and Fun Run at their main campus on Metropolitan Pkwy. 

Registration starts at $15 and the race will begin at 8 a.m., rain or shine. 

Click the website for more information. 

— Allison Joyner

Hannah Jones is a 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...

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