Red, Blue & You: One Atlanta: Unity Prevails
The opportunity we have to grow and unite has never been stronger. With Buckhead City behind us, we can finally begin to look forward again to the future. We can pool our talents, ideas and resources to realize the vision of One Atlanta.
On March 2, 2023, Georgia senators finally put to rest one of the most controversial pieces of legislation introduced at the Capitol in the last decade. The bipartisan vote of 33-23 marked the end of a long, contentious debate over whether or not to de-annex the Buckhead neighborhoods of Atlanta and turn them into their own municipality, Buckhead City. The vote was a rare bipartisan win for common sense under the Gold Dome.
Now, the real work begins. While some of the sentiments driving Buckhead City efforts still exist, particularly around crime and public safety, there is no debating that Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and his administration have done a tremendous amount of work to keep residents safer, both in Buckhead and across the city. Violent crimes were down 7% in 2022 over 2021, and robberies fell 15% over the same period. Atlanta is a safer city than it was just a year ago.
Dickens has also made himself available to his constituents at every possible opportunity, giving people the chance to make their voices heard and help shape policy. Alongside hitting the streets, he has maintained a strong presence at the Capitol during the legislative session, forging relationships and finding solutions on both sides of the aisle.
Those efforts will continue to pay off as we finally look forward to what our future holds as a city kept whole. There are many issues that we still need to address, both on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis and as One Atlanta, as called for by the City of Atlanta.
While the Buckhead City conversation most prominently elevated the narrative of crime in the wealthiest part of the city, the truth is that Buckhead was, and still is, the safest place to live. For example, Zone 2 of the Atlanta Police Department, which primarily includes Buckhead neighborhoods, experienced 11 homicides in 2022.
While every death is a tragedy, that is about one-quarter of the 41 homicides in Zone 3, composed of neighborhoods like Adair Park, Capitol View and Mechanicsville in Southeast Atlanta.
When someone is killed in Buckhead, it’s breaking news because it happens rarely. When someone is killed in Bankhead, coverage is little to nonexistent because it is expected. Violence, and the poverty and struggles that often drive violence, are accepted as normal in those parts of town.
While the City of Atlanta is united, there is still a gaping divide that runs between the people of Atlanta along the chronic lines of race, class and I-20.
Splitting the city apart would have only exacerbated those issues, if not made them outright unsolvable.
Now, however, we have an opportunity to work together and figure out how to make Atlanta safer and more prosperous for everyone living here.
There is no city in the country like Atlanta. Our legacy of civil rights, culture and economic excellence is unparalleled.
We have shown time and again that there is nothing that we cannot overcome when we come together.
In fact, we’re in an era of exceptionalism, with new Black entrepreneurs in the areas of tech, real estate, hospitality and more making a mark not just in Atlanta but nationally.
The opportunity we have to grow and unite has never been stronger. With Buckhead City behind us, we can finally begin to look forward again to the future.
We can pool our talents, ideas and resources to realize the vision of One Atlanta.
Now is the time to seize on this momentum and demonstrate what unity really means — not through our words but our actions.