Tag: Georgia

Lucy McBath Wins Georgia Congressional Race Against Karen Handel

U.S. Congress member Lucy McBath (photo via Getty Images)

by Astead W. Herndon via nytimes.com

Lucy McBath, the gun control and racial justice activist whose son was killed in a 2012 shooting, is now headed to Congress, after winning a razor-thin election decided Thursday morning.

Ms. McBath defeated the Republican incumbent Karen Handel, who only last year won a closely watched special election in the same Georgia district. Though Ms. Handel did not concede the race until Thursday morning, Ms. McBath, who is also a former Delta flight attendant, claimed victory in a statement released Wednesday. The Associated Press officially called the race for Ms. McBath on Thursday morning, with her lead at just under 3,000 votes.

“Six years ago I went from a Marietta mom to a mother on a mission,” she said, referencing her teenage son’s death. Jordan Davis, Ms. McBath’s son, was 17 when he was shot and killed by a white man at a gas station after refusing to turn down the volume of the rap music playing in his car. The man was later convicted of first-degree murder.

The win furthers the advantage in the House for Democrats, who could see more gains in several still-too-close-to-call races across the country. The district, once held by Newt Gingrich, was initially thought to have been out of reach for Democrats, but tightening polls in the campaign’s final weeks pushed the National Republican Campaign Committee, the House political arm, to run several new advertisements in the district in support of Ms. Handel.

“It is clear I came up a bit short Tuesday,” Ms. Handel said on Thursday morning. “Congratulations to Representative-Elect Lucy McBath and send her only good thoughts and much prayer for the journey that lies ahead for her.”

Ms. McBath was once thought to be a long-shot candidate even among members of her own party, and had even first planned to run for state or local office. Now, she will be the first nonwhite person to represent Georgia’s Sixth District, a section of the state overwhelmingly filled with white and affluent voters.

“At the end of the day, whatever you think about me; whatever happens or whatever I become in the future, I’ll still always be Jordan’s mom,” Ms. McBath said during a campaign event last month.

Her win defies conventional wisdom of how minority candidates must campaign in order to gain traction in districts predominately composed of white voters. While some had advised Ms. McBath to dilute the most explicit parts of her son’s murder, she believed it was integral to telling an authentic story about her life and experiences, she said.

During stump speeches on the trail, Ms. McBath would invoke the name of Trayvon Martin, the teenager killed in Florida whose death spurned legions of black activism. She also said, “I’m risking my son’s legacy for the people of this district.”

“What I’m doing today is still mothering his legacy,” Ms. McBath said last month. “I’m extending what I would do for my son to my community.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/08/us/politics/lucy-mcbath-georgia.html

Psychologist Dr. Joy Bradford Makes Mental Health Care More Accessible Via Therapy for Black Girls

Dr. Joy Bradford (photo via therapyforblackgirls.com)

by Dominique Fluker via forbes.com

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Services, African-Americans are 20%  more likely to experience psychological distress such as depression, suicide, PTSD and anxiety than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.

Meet Dr. Joy Bradford, a licensed psychologist based in Atlanta, Georgia and founder of Therapy for Black Girls. Passionate about changing the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy which often prevents black women from taking the step of seeing a therapist, Bradford aims to alleviate the process of seeking relief for mental health-related issues within the black community, by fostering a safe space to present mental health topics to black millennial women in a digestible way.

Previously a college counselor, Bradford leveraged her people person and problem solver skills to create the Therapy for Black Girls platform in 2014. The Therapy for Black Girls platform now reaches over 32,000 members with its blog, podcast, social media communities, and very own national therapist directory, that lists black women mental health providers nationally.

I spoke with Bradford about what inspired her to create Therapy for Black Girls, why there’s a stigma surrounding mental health in the black community and the challenges that isolate black women millennials from seeking mental health care.

Dominique Fluker: As a licensed psychologist, speaker and host of the popular mental health podcast, Therapy for Black Girls, share why you decided to create the online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of black women and girls? 

Dr. Joy Bradford: I created the space because I really wanted Black women to have a place to go to get information about mental health that felt relevant and accessible to them. I wanted to be able to share information about recognizing signs and symptoms of mental illness but also to have conversations about the kinds of things we can do to encourage mental wellness.

Fluker: How is the Therapy for Black Girls platform combating the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy for African-American women?

Bradford: I think it’s combating stigma because it is making topics that were once taboo, okay to be publicly discussed. I think that topics covered on the podcast have given people language for some of the things they may have been struggling with, and I think the directory has allowed scores of women to connect with mental health professionals across the country who are excited about providing high-quality care to them.

Fluker: What are the challenges that black women millennial face daily that might make them feel isolated from mental health care?

Bradford: I think that sometimes black millennial women worry that their issues are not “big” enough to go to therapy and so they don’t utilize the service. I also think that sadly a lot of black millennial women also don’t feel like providers will really get them and it feels really hard to go into space where you’re supposed to be very transparent but not able to be comfortable. Additionally, I think that the cost may be prohibitive for some people who may want to go to therapy. Even with insurance, it may be difficult to afford therapy, but without it, there can be a lot of hoops to jump through to find lower cost therapy that is a good fit.

Continue reading “Psychologist Dr. Joy Bradford Makes Mental Health Care More Accessible Via Therapy for Black Girls”

Georgia ACLU and Voting Rights Activists Move to Block Plan to Close Two-Thirds of Randolph County’s Polling Places

Georgia ACLU Staff (photo via aclu.org)

by Vanessa Williams, WashingtonPost via sandiegouniontribune.com

Voting rights activists in Georgia say they will launch a petition drive in an effort to collect enough signatures of registered voters to block a proposal to close more than two-thirds of polling precincts in a predominantly black county ahead of this fall’s general election.

The plan to shutter the voting sites in Randolph County, a rural community about 2½ hours south of Atlanta, has been drawn dozens of local residents and progressive groups to two public hearings in recent days. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a formal protest with the county’s board of elections.

Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, which oversees elections operations throughout the state, has issued a statement urging Randolph County officials to “abandon this effort.” Kemp also is the Republican nominee in one of the country’s most-watched gubernatorial contests. The Democratic nominee, Stacey Abrams, a former state legislator, is seeking to become the nation’s first black female governor.

The two-member county election board – a third member stepped down recently – has scheduled a vote for Friday on the proposal to shutter seven of the county’s nine polling places, citing problems including facilities in disrepair or inaccessible to persons with disabilities. But some activists are suspicious of the board’s motives, noting that Randolph County is 60 percent black and many residents have low incomes. The county, which covers 431 square miles, has no public transportation system.

All nine of the polling places were used for the May primaries and less than a month ago for statewide run-offs, in which Kemp, helped by an endorsement from President Donald Trump, beat Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for the GOP nomination.

Local news outlets reported heated discussions at meetings on Thursday and Friday, with residents and activists alleging the move was aimed at suppressing turnout in the county, in which more than 55 percent of the voters are black and have backed Democratic candidates in statewide elections.

County officials and a consultant hired by local officials said the closures were necessary because the sites were not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act and there was not time to fix them before the Nov. 6 general election. They also suggested that affected residents could vote by absentee ballot.

“You don’t solve problems of accessibility for people with disabilities by reducing access for people without disabilities,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the Georgia ACLU, which wrote a letter to the board stating that the closures would be a violation of the Voting Rights Act because it would have a negative effect on African-American voters. The group noted that African-Americans make up more than 96 percent of the voters at one of the polling places slated for closure.

Unsure if the board will be persuaded by the arguments for keeping the polling places open, some activists will try to stop the plan by using a state law that forbids the closure of voting sites if 20 percent of the registered voters in the affected precinct object to the change. The county currently has just over 4,000 registered voters.

Nse Ufot, executive director of the New Georgia Project, a voter registration and education group, said activists will begin collecting signatures Sunday, spreading the word at morning church services.

“We want to see to it that the hundreds of students we registered at Andrew College and the people we’ve registered in Randolph are able to exercise their sacred, fundamental right to vote,” Ufot said. The goal is to submit the petition before the board’s scheduled Friday vote.

A similar petition drive overturned a decision two years ago by elections officials in Macon-Bibb County to relocate a polling place from a school to the sheriff’s office.

“These polling place closures are part of a stark pattern that we are seeing across Georgia whereby officials are working to make it harder for African Americans and other minorities to vote,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The more communities mobilize to turn out the vote, the harsher the voter suppression efforts undertaken by officials. We are prepared to use every tool in our arsenal to ensure that African American voters are able to have meaningful access to the polls this election cycle.”

Read more: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/us-politics/ct-georgia-voting-rights-polling-places-20180818-story.html#

Lucy McBath, Mother of Racial Violence Victim Jordan Davis, Wins Democratic Primary for U.S. Congressional Seat in GA

U.S. Congressional Candidate Lucy McBath (photo via bradfordera.com)

by Sarah Ruiz-Grossman via huffingtonpost.com

Gun control advocate Lucia “Lucy” McBath won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

McBath beat her Democratic opponent, businessman Kevin Abel, in Tuesday’s runoff after they finished as the top contenders in the state’s May primary but neither garnered the majority of the vote. She won 53.7 percent of the vote.

McBath thanked her supporters early Wednesday morning, saying she was at a “loss for words.” “We deserve better representation in DC, and I intend to show the good people of #GA06 what a tough, determined mother can do,” she wrote on Twitter. “On to November.”

McBath, a national spokeswoman for gun control group Moms Demand Action, will now face a challenging race against incumbent Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.) in November’s general election. Handel famously beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in last year’s special election ― the most expensive U.S. House race in history, with more than $50 million spent on both bids.

McBath was spurred into activism by the 2012 death of her son, Jordan Davis, a black 17-year-old who was shot dead at a Florida gas station by a white man complaining about loud music. Initially planning to run for a state House seat, McBath decided to run for Congress after the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, most of them teens.

“I knew that I could no longer sit on the sidelines,” McBath wrote on her campaign site, “while the politicians in the pocket of the gun manufacturing lobby decide the future of our gun laws.”

She said Wednesday that Jordan was her “rock & inspiration” through the race.

As a “Mother of the Movement” ― part of a group of women who’ve lost a child to gun violence or in police custody ― McBath advocates for “common sense gun violence prevention laws,” including background checks, raising the age for firearm purchases to 21 years old and fighting against “conceal carry” measures. The two-time breast cancer survivor is also pushing for more affordable health care and improving women’s access to health services.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lucy-mcbath-georgia-democratic-primary_us_5b4e6062e4b0de86f487c43d

VOTE! Lucy McBath, Mother of Slain Teen Jordan Davis, in Runoff for GA Congressional Seat

Congressional candidate in Georgia’s 6th District Lucy McBath (R) speaks onstage during Vanity Fair’s Founders Fair at Spring Studios on April 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

by Jay Scott Smith via thegrio.com

She wants gun control reform for a very personal reason and decided to run for Congress with the hope of changing things herself.

Lucy McBath is set for a runoff election this coming Tuesday against Atlanta tech businessman Kevin Abel for the Democratic nomination in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. McBath is a gun control activist and the mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who was murdered in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012 when he was shot by Michael Dunn, a white man angered that he and his friends would not turn their music down.

Dunn, who attempted to claim the shooting was in self-defense because he felt “threatened” by the boys arguing back at him, was convicted of first-degree murder. “I didn’t understand how there were these kinds of tragedies happening all over the country,” McBath told CNN. “And why aren’t our legislators talking about it?”

Davis said she was inspired to run when she saw Donald Trump speak after February’s high school mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. She says she knew the president was lying when he implied he would challenge the NRA. “It’s just not enough to have the marches and the rallies and the speeches and the remarks, unless we have people who are willing to create the bills to make this a safer nation,” she told CNN.

After her son’s death, she retired from her job as a Delta Airlines flight attendant and became a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety. She has testified before Congress, joined Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail in 2016, and was among the Mothers of the Movement who spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

McBath came in first in the primary race in front of Abel, a South Africa native who she will face in the runoff this Tuesday. McBath won 36 percent of the vote in the May primary, while Abel secured 30.5 percent of the votes cast.  The runoff winner will challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel.

Abel claims that despite coming in second in the primary, he is the better candidate simply because he feels McBath “can’t beat Handel” in the bloody-red state of Georgia.

McBath is undeterred and unapologetic about her policy positions. “Yes, we are in a gun state,” says McBath. “And yes, we are in a red state. But I know people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. I know people now want change.”

Source: https://thegrio.com/2018/07/22/lucy-mcbath-jordan-davis-mother-runoff-for-ga-congressional-seat/

The A.M.E. Church and 19 Black-Owned Banks Team Up to Launch New Partnership for Longterm Black Wealth

Leaders of the AME Church announced the partnership late last month. (Photo by Klarque Garrison/Trice Edney News Wire)

The African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent Black denomination in the U.S., has teamed up with 19 Black-owned banks across the nation to form a partnership aimed at bettering financial vitality among Black Americans.

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson announced the new partnership at the 2018 Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting in Atlanta on June 26, pegging the initiative as an opportunity to “increase Black wealth,” business development and homeownership.

“This initiative will strengthen Black banks across the U.S. and increase their capacity to lend to small businesses, to secure mortgages, to provide personal lines of credit, and to offer other forms of credit to AME churches and our members,” said Jackson, president of the Council of AME Bishops. “This, of course, includes enabling members and their families to become homeowners.”

Jackson explained the partnership was inspired by an initiative formed in Washington, D.C. in 2015, called Black Wealth 2020, which he said “… is providing an economic blueprint for Black America.”

Through the initiative, faith leaders and bank presidents hope to increase deposits and loans with Black-owned banks; up the number of Black businesses from 2.6 million to 4 million; and grow Black homeownership to more than 50 percent nationwide, according to a press release.

Speaking to The Atlanta Voice, General Board Chair Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie said she believes the church-bank collaboration is especially important for African-American youth.

“We want to be able to teach fiscal responsibility before [students] get to high school,” she said. “[It’s important] to learn the value of saving, the value of investing.”

Michael Banks, former head of the National Bankers’ Association, said he sees the partnership as imperative in regards to growing Black homeownership.

“We are educating ourselves and not only teaching our people how to get a home but also how to stay there,” Banks told the newspaper. “We worry about gentrification, but we have more power than we realize. (It’s important) to (buy) a home, and hold on to a home, and then encourage all young people to do the same.”

With over 6,000 AME churches across the U.S., faith leaders say the partnership is a real opportunity to boost wealth among Black Americans if everyone takes part.

Read more: http://atlantablackstar.com/2018/07/08/ame-churches-black-owned-banks-team-up-to-launch-new-partnership-for-longterm-black-wealth/

T.I. is Buying Back Center Hill in Atlanta to Beautify and Improve His Old Neighborhood While Keeping it Affordable

T.I. (photo via vibe.com)

by Daryl Nelson via atlantablackstar.com

T.I. is on a mission, and it has to do with rebuilding his old neighborhood in the Center Hill section of Atlanta. In 2017 he started a real estate company called Buy Back the Block, and considering what he’s accomplished already the name couldn’t be any more fitting.

In a recent interview, Tip said that he’s partnered with fellow Atlanta rapper Killer Mike and bought the Bankhead Seafood building, a beloved eatery that closed earlier this year after five decades of being in business.

On top of that, he purchased a number of lots in his old neighborhood and bought six buildings as well. So far Tip has spent over $2 million out of his own pocket, without any outside assistance and it seems he’s just now getting started.

“I grew up in the 1980s and ’90s in the Center Hill section of Atlanta, just off Bankhead Highway,” he told Inc. “Back then that part of town was considered the lower end of the middle class. After the crack era the community stalled, and from 1994 to 2012 it became an extremely desolate area for business. There’s no major grocery store chain, there’s no fresh produce, there’s no CVS, there are liquor stores.”

But the rapper said he doesn’t want to improve the area then make it so expensive that people can’t afford it. He wants to do the opposite, so those who’ve always been there don’t have to move.

“Now, with the BeltLine and Mercedes-Benz Stadium a stone’s throw away, there’s an incentive to redevelop,” T.I. explained. “But I didn’t want it to be one of those situations where luxury condos go up, and people who are native are pushed out to the fringes because they can’t afford to live there. I wanted to provide development that would allow people from the area who love the community to be able to afford to stay.”

Tip also said he’ll turn a lot of the buildings that he purchased into “mixed-use” housing, and it’s possible that two of the properties will be ready by the close of 2019. One building will have over 100 units and the other will have less.

In addition, the Grand Hustle founder is working with veteran real estate agent Krystal Peterson so that housing costs are kept affordable, and he’s doing other things like beautifying the neighborhood.

“Green spaces and gardens are incredibly important,” said T.I. “We want a movie theater, bowling, laser tag, stuff I didn’t have. I’m trying to build a community where the people within it can be proud. If they’re proud they’ll have more of a sense of wanting to maintain it.”

“I’d love to see children walk and play and live in green spaces,” he added. “I want to see senior citizens excited about the next generation. The only way to do that is to invest. Why wait for someone else to come into a community where I went to elementary school, where I rode my bike and played?”

It seems a number of rappers share T.I.’s theory since others are investing in their neighborhoods too. Dr. Dre, for example, gave $10 million to build a performance arts center in his hometown of Compton, Calif.

And Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle invested heavily in his Crenshaw neighborhood and opened Vector 90, a co-working space for young people, entrepreneurs and creatives of all types. The rapper Slim Thug has given back to his Houston community as well by launching Boss Life Construction, a company that builds quality, affordable homes in low-income neighborhoods.

According to T.I, he doesn’t want people in the Black community to equate success with escaping local problems, and he’ll try to be an example.  “So many times our answer to fixing things is ‘I’m gonna make some money and leave all these people behind,’” he stated. “There’s rarely an intent to get rich and make where you came from better for generations to come. It’s extremely ambitious, but I’ve worked myself to a place where I should be the one leading the charge. In my mind, that’s what it means to be king.”

Source: http://atlantablackstar.com/2018/07/03/t-i-explains-why-hes-buying-back-his-old-neighborhood-no-fresh-produce-liquor-stores/

Atlanta Psychiatrist Dr. Patrice A. Harris becomes 1st Black Female President of American Medical Association

Atlanta psychiatrist Patrice A. Harris will take the helm of American Medical Association after being elected president Tuesday at the Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates in Chicago.

Harris, who is the chief health officer for Fulton County, becomes the first African-American woman to hold the office. Following a year-long term as AMA president-elect, she will be installed as president in June 2019.

Harris has experience as a private practicing physician, public health administrator, patient advocate and physician spokesperson. She currently works in private practice and consults with both public and private organizations on health service delivery and emerging trends in practice and health policy, according to an AMA news release. Harris is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

“It will be my honor to represent the nation’s physicians at the forefront of discussions when policymaker and lawmakers search for practical solutions to the challenges in our nation’s health system,” Harris said in the release. “I am committed to preserving the central role of the physician-patient relationship in our healing art. The American Medical Association has well-crafted policy concerning the changing health care environment in this country and I look forward to using my voice to help improve health care for patients and their physicians.”

Harris was first elected to the AMA Board of Trustees in 2011, and has held the executive offices of AMA board secretary and AMA board chair. As Fulton County’s chief health officer, Harris spearheaded efforts to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care services. She also served as medical director for the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

Prior to her AMA service, she was elected to the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees and president of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. She was also the founding president of the Georgia Psychiatry Political Action Committee. In 2007, she was selected Psychiatrist of the Year by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association.

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2018/06/12/atlanta-psychiatrist-becomes-first-black-female.html

In the Justice System of South Fulton, GA, Black Women Hold Every Top Position

(Photo: Reginald Duncan / The Atlanta Voice)

by Marshall A. Latimore via theatlantavoice.com

As America waits to see if Georgia will make history by electing Stacey Abrams the first African American woman governor in the country this November, African American women in one of Georgia’s newest cities are already making U.S. history.

Only a year after the creation of the City of South Fulton, Georgia’s fifth largest city, is breaking American barriers.

In January 2018, the city’s Municipal Court began operating and in March 2018 the city’s police services officially began. The city is the first city in American history where every criminal justice department head is an African American woman.

Chief of Police Sheila Rogers is a career law enforcement professional with more than twenty-six years experience.  Chief Rogers is the city’s first police chief and one of a few women police chief around the country.

Chief Judge Tiffany Carter Sellers is a University of Georgia law school graduate and the City’s first chief judge.  Judge Sellers was selected through a panel of experienced judges from the surrounding community.

Judge Sellers hired and appointed the Court Administrator, Lakesiya Cofield, and the City’s first Chief Court Clerk, Ramona Howard.

Also appointed to represent the two equally important components of any criminal justice system were two attorneys, City Solicitor LaDawn “LBJ” Jones, who prosecutes the cases and City Public Defender Viveca Famber Powell, who defends those accused of crimes.

Together these African American women make up all the portions of the criminal justice system in the new city. No other time in American history have black women been appointed to the top position in every department in an entire city’s criminal justice system. This amazing first was not planned. However, it is a testament to the reason the city was founded in the first place – self-reliance and local control that properly represents the community in which they serve.

“Our goal is to ensure justice for everyone,” Sellers said. “However, as African American women we are sensitive to the history of criminal justice in our country.   We want to be an example of how to do things right.”

Under Sellers’s leadership, the demographics of the court are not the only progressive attributes. Incorporated in the foundation of the City of South Fulton’s municipal court policies are details not found in other systems that have existed for years, including guaranteed access to an attorney, a robust diversion program that is infused into the court process, and overall respect for victims and the accused alike.

Source: https://www.theatlantavoice.com/articles/in-the-city-of-south-fultons-justice-system-black-women-hold-all-the-reigns/

Stacey Abrams Wins Georgia Democratic Primary for Governor, Makes History

GA Democratic gubernatorial nominees Stacey Abrams (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

by Alice Truong via qz.com

Stacey Abrams made American history on Tuesday (May 22) when she won the Democratic primary for governor in Georgia, making her the first black female gubernatorial candidate nominated by a major party.

If she pulls off a victory in November against the Republican nominee, who will be decided in a runoff in July, the former state House minority leader will have a number of firsts to her name: the first female governor in Georgia, the first black governor of the state, and the first black woman elected governor in the US.

(Though she was not elected, Barbara Jordan in 1972 briefly served as the first female and first black governor of Texas when governor Preston Smith and lieutenant governor Ben Barnes were both out of the state on the same day.)

Abrams, of course, still faces an uphill battle in the deep South, which hasn’t elected an African-American governor since reconstruction. As the New York Times points out, she’ll need strong turnout from black voters to stand a chance in November. In Georgia, non-Hispanic white voters comprise 53% of the population and have traditionally voted in strong numbers.

“Tonight’s victory was only the beginning,” said Abrams in a Facebook post. “The road to November will be long and tough, but the next step is one we take together.”

Source: https://qz.com/1285911/stacey-abramss-georgia-victory-puts-the-us-closer-to-its-first-black-female-governor/