What is next? After months of one of the most unique elections we have ever seen, the ending result was one no one seemed to predict, and was one that left many heartbroken and distraught. We poured our souls into a campaign that could have changed the world, but we lost. During this turbulent and trying time, I am reminded of running suicides on the football field, I am reminded of the countless mountain climbers I did in NROTC at Morehouse, I am reminded of all the late nights and early mornings in City Hall.
I am reminded that excellence never comes easy. Excellence is not given freely but is earned through hard work, perseverance, and dedication. This is the lesson I learned through my years on the gridiron, my years in NROTC at Morehouse, and my years at City Hall. When you make sure that the work gets done, without spend time doing press conferences and grandstanding, the work actually does get done. I am dedicated to changing the world through my hardwork and determination, not through grandiose expressiveness.
In order to change the world, we have to first make sure the work gets done. What does this mean? Well posting a flippant tweet, a witty snapchat filter, or a thoughtful facebook post is not true activism or hard work. True work and true activism happens when you put in the time and effort. True work is talking politics but also registering to vote. But registering to vote is not the same thing as voting, and voting is not the same thing as casting an informed ballot.
In this last election, 93 million eligible voters did not cast a ballot. 93 million people did not put in the base work needed to change the world. We cannot ask our leaders to change the world when we are not doing our part. Self determination is just that: determining your own path through life. We as a community, as a city, as a country cannot let others make decisions in our own life. We must chart our own course and work hard every day; every early morning and late night, we must work for the change we wish to see in the world.
So what now? Now is the time to dig in and become informed. Volunteer with local nonprofits, hold the door for the person behind you, say hello to your neighbors, start building up our communities. Reach across that great divide and change someone’s life. As we enter the holiday season there will be many opportunities to lend a helping hand. We must make sure we do so.
We have to plan and then act. There are local elections taking place again at the end of 2017 that need your informed vote. There is the Mayor’s race, in which I am running, and several city council seats are up for re-election with the City Council President’s seat I will be leaving behind. To strengthen our school system through partnership, to bring affordable housing to families, to help support economic growth across the whole city, and to not just let one area of town reap all the benefits, you need to vote to elect those that will accomplish your goals. To physically and personally see the changes you desire, local elections are key.
Thankfully we just saw some big wins in the past election such as financial support for Safe Harbor and victims of sex crimes, taxes on fireworks being directed towards trauma care for some of our first responders, the expansion of MARTA through the funding of a TSPLOST bill, and more diversity within more local government. With these approved amendments our city will continue to march forward into the future and establish our place as an international entity. But these advancements will only continue if you as an individual stay informed. Educate yourself on the issues before going to the ballot box; if you have the time please reach out to local nonprofits or ballot initiatives as well; volunteer your time and energy into organizations and campaigns. By giving back to Atlanta, all of us can move forward into the bright future that awaits this city.