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Election SZN: One Music Fest hosts Atlanta’s Mayoral Forum

--This is the first article of a series of published pieces to discuss Atlanta’s upcoming Mayoral Election. Let’s get to know the candidates.--

Organizers of One MusicFest are continuing to push initiatives in the Atlanta community, and this time, with a political obligation and involvement to help move the city forward.

Hosted by Michael ‘Killer Mike’ Render, alongside talk show host Shelley Wynter and educator Joycelyn Wilson to help moderate, the event was held at the Loudermilk Conference Center in downtown Atlanta the evening of September 5th.

Potential voters packed the building ready to listen to the candidates talk about issues ranging from education to the rapid gentrification of the city.

Credit: Gene' Hunter

The forum included all nine candidates: Cathy Woolard, Ceaser Mitchell, John Eaves, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Kwanza Hall, Mary Norwood, Vincent Fort, Michael Sterling and Peter Aman.

Credit: Gene' Hunter

Before beginning, it was pointed out that the purpose of this conversation was to pinpoint the issues surrounding Atlanta’s black community.

The conversation began with the question every audience member had: why are you running for Mayor of Atlanta?

Beginning with candidate Kwanza Hall, he boldly stated, “Atlanta needs strong leadership.” He continued by saying he wants to make a difference in the area where he grew up, mentioning the changes being made in Midtown and Buckhead, and wants to bring those changes into the Old Fourth Ward, Cascade and Campbellton area.

Candidate John Eaves spoke about leadership and told the audience, “The city is changing and we need the leadership to manage it.”

While Keisha Lance Bottoms gave a more personal experience, sharing her dad’s incarceration and growing up in a single mother household-- she told the audience that she wanted to give back to the community. Being a mother, she wanted to implement change and create an environment that her kids could grow up in and be proud of.

Cathy Woolard shared with the audience that she has been on the forefront of social justice issues her entire career and becoming Mayor of Atlanta would bring her work full circle.

Other candidates also shared that Atlanta needs someone in charge that will help Atlanta live up to its promise, sharing statistics illustrating 20% of the city’s population making less than $16,000 a year-- stressing the importance of not leaving anyone behind.

Sticking up for the little guy-- and not just the prominent and well connected in the community-- was also a common concern amongst candidates.

“There’s definitely an overwhelming theme that people are concerned about the displacement of impoverished people in Atlanta and the gentrification that’s going on in the city,” said one attendee.

We’re still 2 months away from the Nov. 7 elections, so the candidates still have work to do within the community and amongst voters.

More detailed information about candidates' platforms, Atlanta residents' feedback and more in the next article to follow in DRM's Atlanta Mayoral Election series.

Credit: Gene' Hunter

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