“I want to eradicate underserved communities in our city … as a matter of fact that shouldn’t even be a term. I intend to scratch the under out of underserved.” – Todd Gray
Todd Gray is a candidate more frequently and respectfully referred to as one of the city’s “young Turks,” which translates to “visionary” with a remarkable commitment to the City of Atlanta and the diverse groups of residents who make this city home. Gray is running for Atlanta City council Post1-At Large.
As an Atlanta native whose family roots stem from the city’s Collier Heights community. Most who know him would call Todd Gray a champion of the people!
Gray is an active participant in civic, and state-level initiatives impacting diversity, and community. Gray has partnered over the last decade as a mentor through the State of Georgia’s Mentor/Protégé Program for small business development. He also supports youth minority entrepreneurship through his partnership with the Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance Construction Skills Development Institute and other organizations that provide current and future entrepreneurs with education, awareness and technical assistance. Gray also founded an Atlanta community youth development initiative for young men ages 12-17 called P.O.L.I.S.H.E.D. to help young men in the Atlanta Community develop life, social and community involvement skills through ongoing tutoring and mentorship.
In 2013 Todd Gray joined Grady Health System where he developed and led Grady Health System’s Supplier Diversity program. Achieving recognition from Atlanta’s top diversity advocacy organizations. Ultimately resulting in economic impact across Atlanta and the region. Which created jobs and led to advancement in health equity in Atlanta’s diverse, and underserved communities. Which garnered Todd Gray to receive the 1st ever awarded, Healthcare Diversity Champion Award from the Fulton/Dekalb Hospital Authority for his contributions and impact to the Atlanta Community.
The Atlanta Daily World spoke with candidate Gray in an exclusive interview to discuss his vision for the future for Atlanta and his comprehensive plan for improving the quality of life for Atlanta’s residents.
“As an Atlanta native, I have long been committed to our community across Atlanta. When I was old enough to drive but too young to vote, I used to drive the church van in the Collier Heights community and what then stood as Bowen Homes and Bankhead Courts and all the communities around northeast Atlanta from Adamsville to the West End community picking up our members and working with youth, in particular, to engage them in ministry and mentorship and help them visualize the promise in community development and their futures which will lead them a long, long way.
We critically need ethical solution-driven approaches as well as equitable leadership to drive the city forward.
Todd Gray on Atlanta’s crime crisis …
It’s the number one issue facing the city. We have a three-pronged issue with two of them being less criminal than the brash and increasing crimes we’ve noticed throughout the city. I will be very tough on crime. I worked for the Atlanta police department. I want us to have better trained officers on the street and I have said throughout my campaign that I don’t support defunding the police, but I absolutely support reimagining policing.
We need to address crime from a community-based perspective with a community-based policing model. We also need to make the distinction between predicated crime and those who get back on our streets as repeat offenders who prey on our citizens and the far less criminal issues of homelessness and mental health. We need to address those issues with empathy and a path to rehabilitation.
On voter suppression and Atlantans’ right to vote …
The right to vote is something we must honor and protect and continue to fight for to make it more accessible instead of less accessible. What I will not do is sit in my seat at City Council once elected and act like it’s not our problem when it’s dealt with at the state level. Voter suppression issues affect over 500,000 citizens in Atlanta so I will work across the aisle. I am a strong believer that even if we do disagree, as looking as we’re working in the right direction we can find a path to resolution and making the next steps forward. I’ll be an advocate for eradicating and defending against any voter suppression tactics that make it harder for one community to vote than another. There will have to be a path to voting access, voting accuracy and voting mobility for all of our citizens. If you’re registered and able it should be easy for you to vote.
On the Buckhead secession issue …
We’re stronger together. I don’t want Buckhead to leave. Every citizen in every community that I have talked to throughout this campaign, my life and my service in this community for over 20 years informs me that every community has its own unique set of issues and no community’s issues should be ignored. Buckhead’s concerns about zoning, crime, and transit and those are issues we have to address. Buckhead’s discussion regarding annexing from Atlanta is in large part due to them feeling that they have not been served to the level they should be served. We are all citizens of Atlanta and we should all have equitable service.
Mr. Gray is a featured public speaker, cover feature in Who’s Who in Black Atlanta, and nationally recognized for his achievements in Diversity & Inclusion, and direct contributions in assuring stronger communities across the nation. Gray has founded The Gray Impact, a platform which empowers, and tools community stakeholders to be at the front line in assuring social, and economic equity in communities across the State of Georgia.
Vote Nov. 2