ATLANTA — On Thursday, Aug. 20, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) hosted the first meeting of its Equity & Inclusion Commission. Ambassador Andrew Young delivered a virtual keynote address to the 26-member commission, which is chaired by LaGrange Mayor and GMA First Vice President Jim Thornton and Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis.
Midway Mayor Pro Tem, Dr. Clemontine Washington is part of the 26-member commission.
Davis said, “the role of the GMA Equity and Inclusion Commission is to recommend actions that bear witness to the principles of justice, equality and fairness, develop a long-term plan of action to address institutional and systemic racism, and equip city leaders to listen thoughtfully and dialogue constructively with the residents they serve.”
GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson reminded Commission members of the importance of listening, uniting widely, and acting boldly in order to bring justice to the complex systems that shape and influence today’s society.
These systems included some of the commission’s focus areas of training and education, state legislation, public safety reform and employment. The Commission will also address, propose and implement solutions for additional impediments to equity including housing, medical access, food disparities and development.
Ambassador Young closed with a message of hope for the Commission and by quoting Georgia music icon, Otis Redding, “Take your time,” he said. “When you have problems, try a little tenderness. When things are going wrong, all it takes is a little respect to go a long way. If we work together as brothers and sisters, we will succeed.”
The commission was created in early June when the GMA officers, led by Dublin Mayor Phil Best, GMA immediate past president, GMA President Vince Williams, sent a statement to the membership that expressed the association’s strong opposition to racism, violence and acts of injustice, inequity and inequality that was occurring across the nation.
With the support of a 12-member GMA staff team, a mid-term report will be issued to the Board of Directors in January 2021, and a final report will be presented to the Board and membership at the 2021 Annual Convention. It is anticipated that the Commission will meet monthly through June 2021.
GMA Equity & Inclusion Commission Members
Dr. Clemontine Washington, Mayor Pro Tem, Midway
Jim Thornton, Mayor, LaGrange (Co-chair)
Hardie Davis, Mayor, Augusta (Co-chair)
Linda Blechinger, Mayor, Auburn
Michelle Cooper Kelly, Mayor Pro Tem, Marietta
Carmen Chubb, Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Atlanta
Patti Garrett, Mayor, Decatur
Andrea Gibby, Mayor, Young Harris
Tyree Goodlett, Councilmember, Dalton
Keith Turman, Mayor Pro Tem, Royston
Bianca Motley Broom, Mayor, College Park
Liz Ordiales, Mayor, Hiawassee
Al Thurman, Mayor, Powder Springs
Amir R. Farokhi, Councilmember, Atlanta
Anthony Ford, Mayor, Stockbridge
Kelly Girtz, Mayor, Athens-Clarke County
Cornell Harvey, Mayor, Brunswick
Lisa Clarke Hill, Mayor Pro Tem, Moultrie
Doug Hollberg, Mayor, Griffin
Isaiah Hugley, City Manager, Columbus
Michael-Angelo James, Mayor, Waycross
Cam Jordan, Deputy Administrator, Fitzgerald
John Reid, Mayor, Eatonton
Matt Seale, Mayor, Ocilla
Julie Smith, Mayor, Tifton
Mike Young, Mayor, McRae-Helena