Updated: Nov 30, 2021
As the City of Atlanta moves to the discovery and implementation of "One Atlanta," with "One Atlanta" uniting our city across all segments. It would lead us to believe that "One Atlanta" suggests the city can begin economic and other enhancements with a clean slate and assumes everything and everyone is equal and united. Our citizenry may be united in spirit, but we certainly are not equal when we ignore the Black community's struggles and continue to overcome them just to play in the game.
The only thing in common with most disenfranchised groups is civil rights, not economic rights for community renewal. There are few identifiable communities for many of the disadvantaged but many examples of Black communities. The Black community has, in turn, served as a guide-arm for others to follow our standards, others who now stand ahead of them, making these groups believe their equality earns them an economic return that they have not engaged in the overall civic, political, religious, and economic investments to obtain.
As the City of Atlanta continues to mature into the century two thousand, the idea of "One Atlanta" suggests that the Black community will soon find itself becoming a non-factor when it comes to matters of local economics. The time for knee-jerk reactions to incremental change has gone. We need an intentional design inspired by a quantum leap and total change in our tools to lead Black community development. We also believe that action must be holistic, uniform, and pervasive. Further, we must make the Black community active partners in whatever happens and empower them to take advantage of the development process. As the Black community develops, all communities develop.
It could be said that "One Atlanta' is a current form of the famed "Benign Neglect" attempts of the Nixon Administration in the early '70s. With 'Benign Neglect," the attempt was to ignore the Black community and its progress, causing racial rhetoric to fade while demanding greater attention on other types of minorities. This approach permits the government to focus on the schisms that share their white counterparts' concerns. In summary, "One Atlanta" has the authorization to signify success for the whole Black community when it does not.
Since the late seventies, this city's economic benefits have been undergirded by the city's programming designed to focus on Black and other economically disenfranchised businesses. This group of companies participated individual wealth building without a design on community wealth development. The resulting efforts did not increase the economic power of the Black community. It was to quiet the "natives" and allowed other ethnic and gender communities to take advantage of any discord by not fighting the battle.
This racially vulnerable community has expectations of long-term employment, education, and the enjoyment of public conveniences, including transportation. It must deal with welfare expenses, crime and drug conditions, underserved citizens, and preying businesses that seek to victimize the residents to gain some semblance of a return on its city financial support. While all communities must deal with some of these challenges, the Black community must daily.
So, the question is what level of "Return on Investment" has or will the Black community receive for its valued contributions and recognition that the City of Atlanta has acclaimed if the Black communities and businesses are still undervalued and not recognized as necessary the city's overall image. When it is apparent that the Black community and its companies can fully participate, can we embark on a "One Atlanta" effort and not when one side of Atlanta is still being held hostage by the other.
We offer 12 Inclusion Initiatives that will begin to enable the Black community and must be independently recognized within a "One Atlanta" concept and not homogenized into a non-factor. These initiatives must be underwritten and fully participated in by the larger corporate economic community. We want government and the private sector to devote extra time, money, and energy to economic sectors, particularly the weaker ones within the Black community. And a common thread will run across all our ideas and initiatives.
The residual value and prospective value of Atlanta Black communities have long been sustained by the success of its Black business to cause employment and of its citizens to obtain jobs, all of which provided a continuing economic stimulus for the various communities located throughout the city.
The "12 Inclusion Initiatives"
1. Continued development of a Community Agreement on outcomes with specific outcomes, timelines, and penalties.
2. Local Incentives to create and drive instruments of local change
3. Economic Values Outcomes that are understood inside and outside the community.
4. Increased Salaries within the community residents (with tracking tools).
5. Designed Employment of Community residents (with an agreed-upon community target)
6. Support desired forms of education for each part of the community
7. Utilize Local Community Resources on a representative basis
8. Jobs Created and Sustained by non-resident African Americans
9. Support for Black Philanthropy and non-profits
10. Support for Youth Entrepreneurship
11. Improved Infrastructure (streets, sewer, etc.)
12. Increased Local Black Business capacity and capability
We must demand the Black community be carefully and involved in recognizing and developing the "One Atlanta" approach. The increased value brought to Atlanta through the Black community's recognition and leadership increases our city's competitive advantage over other US cities.
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