Today marks the beginning of the legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly. The General Assembly has always convened in the winter months, giving a historic nod to Georgia’s agricultural economy. For me, it seems also appropriate that it sits snugly in the lull between the end of the Christian seasons of Christmas and Easter.
A few weeks ago, I found myself invited to a holiday party of a friend that is located in the town named after Jesus’ birthplace. On this evening, I attended what I have many times before in my hometown area: a live nativity scene. The congregants of the Nativity Lutheran and Bethlehem First United Methodist Churches gathered to tell the story of Jesus in the manger, and naturally there was a crowd of the devout.
The experience this time was different and somehow more poignant to me in a year of so much conflict and anything goes. Continue reading “Legislative Day 1: A Day of Hope?”
On a recent trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, I had the opportunity to take in the city’s art and restaurant scene, which I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone for a weekend. More than just giving me loads of inspiration, the visit called me to reflect/question how a city’s identity is constructed. Does the run of the mill Jane Smith typically reflect more on the history of a city or the trends of the present before she visits? And what draws people to each city? What makes them move there? What makes them stay? What drives them away? Me? I like low taxes and a great art scene. I like walkability and commerce. Others like quiet and quaint, picturesque views and still more love the hustle and bustle of of big city life. As I focused my lens on Charlotte, I tried to think how my own city projects itself to the world.
Atlanta has a rich history, long before rising from the ashes of the Civil War. My city, named Terminus, for its rail identity was one that sprang up from necessity of business, trade, and transportation. Long before she ever became the Gateway to the South, Atlanta was buzzing with people moving to and fro, selling their wares and has always had a more transient population as a result. Locals here know there are few true “native” Atlantans, as most Georgians coming from small towns move here to either try their hand at making it “big” in the “big city” or to escape the narrowness of living in a small town straight out of Faulkner. My story was similar: farm girl grows up in Social Circle. Studies hard in small town and attends the women’s’ college (Agnes Scott College) in small town close to bigger city.
I always like to ask people I meet why they moved here. I know why I did, but I assume different strokes for different folks. The resounding answer I tend to get is for “jobs” and the opportunity for upward mobility. Is this legacy of a business oriented city still true? Are we really a city that allows outsiders to come in and pull themselves up by the bootstraps to “make it”? If so, how are we continuing to foster that image and promote growing business?
Atlanta has done a great job of promoting itself as a city “too busy to hate” and a place whose Mayor tries to be responsive to his business community. Most recently, Mayor Reed had his Bobby Kennedy moment in the spot light as he tried to calm the #BlackLivesMatter movement protests in the streets. In many ways, he navigated the storm well, with respect for the protestors and the blue line. The moment Reed welcomed peaceful protests in the streets of Atlanta while asking them to stay out of the expressway was a moment I was truly proud of him! I wish more people in the nation had the opportunity to see that side of our city. In a city with a black mayor, a black city council, county commission and school board, we know from the bottom to the top that #blacklivesmatter here.
Mountaintop moments did not end in Atlanta with MLK, Jr. Continue reading “ATL Identity: Business, Trade, and Transportation”
This past week I had a flat tire, unexpectedly. I was rushing out the door to a meeting and as I turned the corner, saw very plainly that the tire was not a slow leak, but an all-out flat. Curses were said, patience tried, then I moved on. Being undeterred, I decided to take Über- my go-to for any event where I avoid driving. At the end of the day, I had very different drivers, all with a story to tell, all with an interesting perspective, and all who had strong feelings about their commitment to something large than themselves. Some had children which motivated them, others did not. Yet all felt compelled to do something- to go beyond the basic and I was left feeling that these were my kind of people. It was an eye opening experience for me, and I hope it will be interesting for you as well.
First off, I do not typically talk casually about what I do. For a long time I used to tell people I encountered and was certain I would not meet again I was a secretary or an events planner. I did this because whenever I say I work in politics, people always want my opinion. Or, more accurately they wish for me to affirm their opinion as right because I am (in their eyes at the moment) some subject matter expert. I’m not, and I tire of this easily. It was especially difficult in my early twenties at bars in Buckhead when the boys buying drinks wanted to talk about the latest Presidential election or to impress me with their lack of knowledge of foreign policy. But those are posts for another type of blog; just know that I do not bring up what I do in conversation unless I am asked directly and I try to offer the most basic explanation possible before switching the conversation back to them. It saves us all some headaches. Trust me.
My first driver was a fellow Jeep driver, so I felt some level of connection to him with this. We spent the first part of my thirty minute ride discussing Jeeps and other makes and models we had driven and considered driving. I learned he was a musician and did some video production as a primary job with Über as his back-up. Cool. Made me think of all the film productions going on here in Georgia and I silently thanked the tax credits that have encouraged that sector’s growth. The driver then asked me what I did and my answer seemed to engage him far more intensely than I had expected. This could go south, quickly.
…But it didn’t. Continue reading “Über: Disrupting More Than Just Transportation”