FYI: I have written the national NAACP the following request:
Dear Members of the National NAACP,
On behalf of those who wish to reverse the socio-economic disintegration of the Greater Atlanta region – one so immense central to the country’s civil rights history and so important to the continued emancipation of African Americans – I appeal to you to intervene in Georgia, post haste.
As you are doubtless aware, the Georgia NAACP is opposing a tax measure to radically integrate and expand infrastructure in a city the West and South of which have been, for the past years, on a painful and dramatic decline into racial isolation and economic despair. Whereas one could perhaps expect this in other urban centers, but in majority-Black “alpha-world city” Atlanta, fourth in the number of US cities with Fortune 500 headquarters across many economic sectors, the world’s busiest airport, major ports on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and an important aviation, and an important middle class of color, the proposed tax represents a golden opportunity to integrate the struggling lower- and underclass African American populations.
The 1%tax, awkwardly dubbed TPLOST for short, has the support of the business community, the City, and forward-thinking citizens throughout the region, who realize what is at stake and who know that the immense Atlanta region must have precisely the kind of multi-layered and visionary transportation and community development plan to put the devastating effects of the recession behind it and live up to its realistic potential of once leading the South in inclusion and development and head off movement into de-facto re-segregation and poverty for millions.
In this context, what does the Georgia NAACP do? Standing on protocol it plays an immensely irresponsible game of protest (along with the “Tea Party”). It is trying to sway its constituents, who so desperately need socio-economic reintegration, to vote down the entire 10-year 18-billion dollar Transportation Investment Act (TIA) proposal, 6 years in the making, on July 31st, 2012. Its reasoning? First, paradoxically, it wants more of it, notably to the West and South. Secondly, simplistically, it wants a silver-bullet plan rather than a multi-dimensional one that intelligently includes housing, green space, parking, rail, trail, bus, and business. Thirdly, unfairly, it wants others to pay more of it, refusing to acknowledge that those in Atlanta itself are the first beneficiaries. Fourthly, politically, it is offended by not having had greater numeric representation of the project Board. Lastly, prematurely, it presumes contracting will leave minority contractors out.
Whereas some of its points are not without merit they speak more to “how to” details than the question of whether to support TIA. The promise of the latter greatly outweighs any legitimacy of the former. Leadership like that promotes the non-advancement of people of color. We cannot let fears, accusations, and bruised egos hold the region hostage for countless generations! Not only does such posturing seem self-serving, narrow, and disingenuous; above all it is dangerous and runs counter the purpose of the organization, and its national repute. Clearly, the Georgia NAACP requires some assistance to live up to its name and, in the days to come, change its position to YES and promote the advancement of its constituency and the rest of the region by abandoning its position against this giant step ahead for unity, progress, and prosperity!
As a concerned African American with property both in the city and in the region I recognize the excellent opportunity TIA represents. Not to embrace TIA’ s profound transportation improvements, including added funding for the visionary light rail/park/trail ring that will particularly serve those of modest means, would risk the non-advancement of people of all colors in the area. Beyond that, it will make the NAACP look very incompetent and indeed counter-productive. I urge you to come to the rescue of the organization, the region, and by implication, people everywhere.
Atlanta City Guide
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