New age of Atlanta changemakers: Meet the leaders

ATLANTA — Atlanta has an unimaginable legacy of civil rights giants who devoted their lives to combating for justice and freedom.

Lots of these trailblazers like John Lewis, Hosea Williams, and Joseph Lowery are not residing. 

So, who’s main the cost at the moment? 

11Alive’s Jonathan Martin spoke with three Atlanta leaders aiming to hold the torch.

Every of them stated they’re centered on persevering with the motion that Atlanta’s previous civil rights leaders pioneered. Get a glimpse of their conversations beneath.

Congresswoman Nikema Williams

“We’re going to march and trigger that good bother that Congressman Lewis spoke about, however we’ve acquired to take it a step additional and institute insurance policies that truly change individuals’s lives,” stated Georgia Congresswoman Nikema Williams.

Williams succeeded the late Rep. John Lewis in Congress. Like him, she has pushed payments geared toward defending voting rights.

“When the correct to vote is restricted, then you may prohibit your proper to every part else on this nation,” Williams stated.

Williams can also be centered on financial equality points. She notes Atlanta has one of many largest racial wealth gaps within the nation.

RELATED: Research highlights wealth hole between Black, white households in Atlanta

“I do know, sitting on the home monetary providers committee, I’ve work to do,” she stated.

Atlanta activist Scotty Good

Scotty Good is an Atlanta activist and neighborhood organizer. For a number of years, he’s been vocal about points affecting Atlanta’s Black neighborhood. He stresses the significance of exhibiting as much as maintain leaders accountable.

“We all know we’ve got issues with public housing, we all know we’ve got hospital closures, we all know we’ve got low earnings, we now have a horrible minimal wage,” he stated. “How will we create these variations and whose job is it to carry (them) accountable?”

Good desires to empower others to appreciate they will make a distinction too – and have a duty to.

“For those who’re not in these rooms, in the event you’re not exhibiting as much as council conferences and county fee conferences, then how have you learnt the place these assets lie?” Good requested.

Hear extra of his dialog within the video beneath:

Georgia NAACP President Gerald Griggs

Gerald Griggs leads Georgia’s NAACP convention. He stated the civil rights group is required at the moment due to an increase in hate and racial intolerance.

Whereas Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd’s circumstances reenergized civil rights activism and led to modifications in police accountability, Griggs stated it is very important keep in mind the large image.

“A viral second is simply that: a viral second,” he stated. “We’re in a motion. We’ve got to focus to verify we obtain the objectives of the motion.”

View Griggs’ dialog within the video beneath:

Persevering with the motion

Griggs, Williams, and Good all agree that identical to the Civil Rights Motion within the Nineteen Fifties and 60s, the present battle for justice is nuanced with completely different approaches.


Atlanta’s Black leaders forge change via collaboration | A take a look at historical past

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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.N. Ambassador Andrew Younger spoke at Yom Hashoa providers, Sunday, April 18, 1977, Atlanta, Ga.


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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.




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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.


Every of the leaders feels with the intention to see lasting change, there should be a higher sense of unity.

“We’ve got plenty of individualism. It is lots of people who’re financially profitable in their very own area, however you do not have the sense of unity and togetherness that we had in earlier generations,” Good stated.

Griggs stated it is as much as the leaders of at the moment to present steerage to those that wish to help within the pursuit of fairness and justice.

“Some individuals really feel like they’ve arrived, and they also’re not as clear on the directive and the pathway ahead is,” he defined. “I do assume we’re unified for the working class and people hoping and dreaming for that actuality that’s presupposed to be Atlanta.”

11Alive invitations you to embark on a journey of unapologetic tales which have formed Atlanta’s previous, current and future this Black Historical past Month. Try our assortment of tales: “DREAM x DISRUPT: Black Atlanta’s Daring Motion” at 11alive.com/blackhistory

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