January Newsletter

Volume 2.5
January 2, 2020

Happy New Year!
With the coming of a new year and a new decade, we are ever hopeful that the future will be bright and prosperous. 

Much to our dismay, however, once again our hearts must go out in empathy, compassion, and love to all who have been directly affected by the most recent rounds of hate and violence—in our shopping malls, schools, sacred spaces, homes, workplaces, streets—seemingly in any and all spaces with no regard for anything or anyone.  It seems, in fact, that there is no place where we can be confident about safety, security, human kindness or human regard.  During a season when joy, love, and the celebration of peace should prevail, we are reminded in horrific ways that in the United States of America, hate and violence take no holidays.  What we know now, if we did not understand it before, is that we are all diminished by the inhumanity of such actions and we must all take on the responsibility of doing whatever we can to find better ways to live, work, and prosper, not alone, but in the company of others—regardless of whether they may be either like or different from ourselves. 

Moreover, in terms of the future of the nation, we must be ever-vigilant in upholding our national values and commitments to freedom, social justice, human rights, and democratic processes.  In this regard, it has been impossible to miss that 2020 is a Presidential election year with several layers of other political contests downstream at the state and local levels.  The right to vote, of course, has been a hard-earned right that we can not afford to ignore, especially since there are escalating efforts to purge the voter rolls.  One organization that is working to assure fairness and justice is Fair Fight.  If you want to know more about what they are doing, see their website:  https://fairfight.com/.  If you want to check your own voter registration status so that you protect your own rights, see this State of Georgia website:  https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.  Most of all, please exercise your right to vote in this critically important election year and encourage others to do the same.

On a special note, I invite you to join me in wishing Congressman John Lewis, revered Civil Rights icon, our very best wishes in his current battle against pancreatic cancer.  His resolve to continue his work in Congress, despite his personal challenges, is to be admired and expected given his longstanding record of passion and commitment to do what he believes to be the right thing to do.  He inspires us all.

Last but not least, be reminded of a challenge that came to us some years ago now from Georgia-born distinguished author and activist Alice Walker: 
“Teach yourself peace.  Pass it on.”  As the new year begins, it strikes me that we would be wise to heed this timely advice.
Kind regards,
Jackie Royster
CEO, Communities Who Know, Inc. ™
Upcoming Events
The MLK/Ashby Merchants Association is renewing its commitment to revitalize our community in 2020, beginning with the commercial corridors. We encourage the business owners and landlords to assume a more active role in decreasing crime, eliminating litter, reducing loitering and improving the appearance of their establishments, properties and the common adjacent areas we share.  

In a purposeful effort to achieve the goals of revitalizing and rebranding our community, the MLK/Ashby Merchants Association has begun to work very closely with several local law enforcement agencies including the Atlanta Police Department, MARTA, and Atlanta University Center’s police department.  They are committed to enforcing quality of life laws. As such, you are invited to come out and meet with the agencies and merchants to gain an understanding of your rights and responsibilities related to the impending enforcement of the laws to improve the neighborhoods in our community. 
Monday, January 6, 2020
10:00am – 11:00am @ Hagar Place
19 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd NW
(behind Local Greens – enter through the back door)

With the consistent and combined efforts of the association, businesses, residents and local law enforcement agencies, we can create a safer, cleaner, and more welcoming environment wherein, loyal and new customers feel safe to shop and socialize in our community, and where our children are free from fear as they walk to and from school.  Feel free to contact Kelly Brown if you have any questions (404) 454-8252.
The Georgia Archive’s January Lunch and Learn will be about the explosion of the Film Industry in Georgia. The talk will be given by by Dr. Aaron Levy, Director of Academics at the Georgia Film Academy. In the last few years, the film industry has exploded in Georgia and is currently ranked third in the nation and fifth in the world for a number of productions (behind only Hollywood and New York).  This has created a workforce need, hence the Georgia Film Academy, a collaborative effort of the University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia. Dr. Levy’s presentation will focus on what Georgia is doing to put its citizens to work in support of the film and digital entertainment industries. 
Friday, January 10, 2020
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
@  5800 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260

Dr. Aaron Levy is a former high school English teacher, and an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and English Education at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta.  In the summer of 2016, he began serving as the Director of Academics for the Georgia Film Academy.
The Georgia Archives Lunch and Learn Programs are
free and open to the public. Door prizes are drawn at each Lunch and Learn program. No registration is required.
For more information, please contact
Penny Cliff: Penelope.Cliff@usg.edu
Morehouse College’s King 2020 Lecture and Conversation will be featuring the Honorable Stacey Abrams, attorney, and former Georgia House Democratic Leader who recently made history in 2018 when she ran for Governor of Georgia. She is the founder of Fair Fight, a voting rights organization dedicated to ensuring access to democracy for all. Her talk will focus on Building Political Power in 2020 and Beyond. Click here for more information about the event.
Thursday, January 23, 2020
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
@  Ray Charles Performing Arts Center
900 West End Avenue SW
Atlanta, GA 30310

Tickets are not required for those with an Atlanta University Center student ID. All others may reserve a seat by registering here on eventbrite.

Thursday, January 23, 2020
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
@ Clark Atlanta University
Bishop Cornelius L. Henderson Student Center
223 James P. Brawley Drive SW
Atlanta, GA 30314


Join us on Thursday, January 23rd from 6-9 pm as we celebrate the third annual awards at Clark Atlanta University. Our Westside venue is made possible by the collaborative efforts of the CAU School of Business Administration and the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE). Atlanta Startup Awards, jointly organized by leaders of Atlanta’s startup and business community, will recognize and celebrate the city’s most successful rising tech companies, startup pioneers, and disruptive innovators in eight exciting categories:

  • Scrappiest Startup Award
  • Community Builder
  • Best B2C Startup
  • Best Social Impact Startup
  • Best B2B Startup
  • The Art of the Pivot
  • Best Growth Stage Startup
  • Equity Champion

Click here to purchase tickets on eventbrite. More information about Atlanta Startup Awards, Atlanta Startup Founders, and Ecosystem Builders can be found on their website.
Global media leader Oprah Winfrey announced her first national arena tour in five years, Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus. Presented by WW (NASDAQ: WW) – Weight Watchers Reimagined – Oprah will bring a full day wellness event to nine U.S. cities beginning January 2020. Every city will feature a different lineup of high profile guests, such as Michelle Obama, Dwayne Johnson, Lady Gaga and others. The tour will make a stop at the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta on:

Saturday, January 25, 2020
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
@ State Farm Arena
1 State Farm Drive
Atlanta, GA 30303

“What I know for sure is we can all come together to support a stronger, healthier, more abundant life – focused on what makes us feel energized, connected and empowered,” said Oprah Winfrey.  “As I travel the country, my hope for this experience is to motivate others to let 2020 be the year of transformation and triumph – beginning first and foremost with what makes us well.  This is the year to move forward, let’s make it happen in 2020!”

Click here for more information about the tour and to purchase tickets.


Join us for West End Community Yoga!

Starting on Saturday, Jan 4th 2020: there will be a free community Yoga class offered on Saturday mornings at Wild Heaven West End Brewery and Gardens – in the Garden Room. The views from the Garden room are dreamy and set the stage for a great practice. Join us for meditation, and a practice suitable for all. Bring a mat, props (blocks, straps, yoga blanket if you have them)and a water bottle. Practice styles are Yin and (Hatha) Vinyasa.

Wild Heaven West End Brewery & Gardens
1010 White Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30310

Classes will be offered on Saturday mornings from 11:00am – 12:00pm starting on Jan 4th 2020. Click here to register for free!

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund:
Telling the Full American Story


If you have a historic place, such as a site, museum, or landscape representing African American cultural heritage, consider submitting a Letter of Intent for the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. You can apply for fund: capital projects, a new preservation educational initiative, training your board, hiring a new staff member. Grants range from $50,000 to $15,000, and the initial Letter of Intent is due January 15, 2020. Click here for more information, and for the link to apply.

Donate your Leaves!

Truly Living Well Center for Natural and Urban Agriculture is collecting leaves for composting. Composting can divert unnecessary waste from landfills and improve the health of our community and our planet. Plus we can build a really big leaf pile! Leaf collection is open from NOW until Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on January 20, 2020. Bring your leaves to:

Collegetown Farm
324 Lawton Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30310

Click here for more information about drop-off times

Upcoming Meetings

The English Avenue Neighborhood Association (EANA) will be holding their General Body Meeting:
Saturday, January 4, 2020
@ 10:00am – 12:00pm
Integrity CDC
692 Lindsay Street
Atlanta, GA 30318

Come join us and learn about happenings in your neighborhood!

The Just Us Neighbors Association invites all neighbors and residents to its monthly meeting on the second Thursday of the month:

Thursday, January 9th
@ 7:00pm
Washington Park Tennis Center
1125 Lena Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30314
The Northwest Business Association invites all neighbors, residents, businesses, churches, key NW stakeholders, and committed individuals, groups and organizations to its Monthly Meeting, to stay informed — and to share important news on the ground. Meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month:
Tuesday, January 14th @ 11:30am
@ Fire Station #28
1925 Hollywood Road
Atlanta, GA 30318

For more information, please call
Ms. Gail Mapp: 404-625-6922
Atlanta NPU Meetings this month

2nd Tuesday (Jan 14th) at 7:00pm @ Integrity Transformations CDC
692 Lindsay Street NW 
Atlanta, GA 30318

2nd Wednesday (Jan 8th) at 7:00pm @ Lee and White Street Community Room
1000 White Street SW (behind Boxcar)
Atlanta, GA  30310

3rd Tuesday (Jan 21st) at 6:30pm @ C. A. Scott Recreation Center 
1565 M. L. King, Jr. Dr. 
Atlanta, GA 30314

Visit the City of Atlanta’s site for more information:
Atlanta NPU Meeting Schedule
If you have announcements that you would like to share, please note two important points:
  • The old email account for Westside Communities Alliance has been closed.  Please direct messages and send flyers and announcements to:  info@communitieswhoknow.com 
  • Currently, the CWK Newsletter will be posted monthly – in the first half of the month. Please submit your flyers and other relevant information to the email address above – as close to the beginning of the month as possible. Thank you!

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