ATLANTA - The city of Atlanta put together a committee that will make recommendations on how to handle the monuments and streets associated with the Confederacy on city property. They started the discussion Wednesday night at City Hall where the group mostly talked logistics.
The committee members were sworn in, the processes were explained and define, introductions were made, and expectations were set. Attendance was low, but that probably won’t be the case soon when the public is welcome to step up to the mic.
"Tonight's attendance of the meeting is another one of those things. People want to do a great deal of stuff, but most people don't want to attend the meetings. That's another thing if you want to be a part of the conversation you're gonna have to come you're gonna have to attend the meetings and this is gonna be uncomfortable,” said Atlanta resident David Mitchell.
Mitchell is one of the few residents who attended Wednesday night. Only a handful of people were in the audience. Mitchell said he wasn’t happy others didn’t join him.
"This is a conversation about who and what we are as a nation. This is our story. This isn't just stone or words on a rock this is our story. And how we tell our story is very, very, very important," said Mitchelle.
The conversation consisted mostly of elections of chairs, a welcome from the mayor, and a deadline of about 45 days. This committee is to review and take public comment on monuments and streets associated with Confederacy on city property like Stonewall Street and Confederate Avenue. Mayor Kasim Reed says he and the city employees are here to help.
"I don't want any resource spared in the work of this body. So I don't want you to feel bound or limited in any way in terms of access to talent or expertise,” said the Atlanta mayor.
The mayor’s office and Atlanta city Council nominated 11 committee members. They range from historians to civil rights leaders, to corporate leaders. This group will talk to experts and residents, compile the feedback, and present suggestions to the mayor and city council at the end of the 45 days, give or take. People we spoke to say they just want to move forward with a plan that’s mutually agreed-upon.
"I heard a long time ago, a good outcome is when both parties leave unhappy but with more than they thought they would ever get,” said Mitchell.
By the next meeting, the committee should have a full list of streets and monuments up for discussion. We are told residents will also be allowed to speak their opinions. An official date is not yet set, but the next meeting should take place the week of October 30.