On Wednesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the establishment of the first Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which will be referred to as “One Atlanta.” The One Atlanta office is located inside City Hall.
The office is led by Rashad Taylor, Chief Equity Officer and Counselor to the Mayor. Taylor, who served two terms as a Georgia state representative, has served on Bottoms’ cabinet and a trusted advisor since she took office in early January.
One Atlanta is also fully staffed with experienced community and policy leaders, “each of whom supports a specific function of the Mayor’s One Atlanta agenda,” an announcement from the Mayor’s Office of Communications read.
To date, One Atlanta staff members include Reese McCranie (Deputy Chief Equity Officer); Megan Sparks (Senior Director of Programs and External Affairs); Kelly S. Beaty (Director of Strategic Engagement); Sharon Hixon (Director of Data and Analytics); Derrick Rice (Director, Community Engagement); Malik Brown (Coordinator, LGBTQ Affairs); Carol Anderson (Manager, Special Projects); and Javier Brown (Executive Assistant/Legislative Manager).
The new office’s name shares the theme of Bottoms’s inaugural State of the City business breakfast, hosted May 2 at the Hilton Atlanta. During that address, Bottoms shared her vision of Atlanta and laid out an agenda to make Atlanta a more equitable city so that all residents have the same access to opportunity.
The Mayor’s agenda for One Atlanta centers around five citywide goals: a safe and welcoming city; world-class employees, infrastructure and services; an ethical, transparent, and fiscally responsible government; thriving neighborhoods, communities, and businesses; and, residents who are equipped for success.
Regarding the opening of the new office, Bottoms said, “My administration is committed to working towards a more affordable, resilient and equitable city. That’s why I’m proud to announce the establishment of the city’s first-ever fully staffed Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
“Also known as One Atlanta, this office is charged to ensure equitable, open and inclusive practices across all city departments and functions,” her statement continued. “This office will also shine (a) light on our forgotten communities and build a bridge towards greater inclusiveness across the entire city.”
In its first year, One Atlanta will review and guide the city’s policies and practices impacting eight critical areas, including affordable housing, criminal justice reform, economic development, health disparities, homelessness, LGBTQ Affairs, workforce development, as well as the city’s efforts to ensure participation in the upcoming 2020 Census—a program the City of Atlanta has called, “ATL Counts.”
Further, Bottoms charged One Atlanta with ensuring more equitable access to economic and workforce development opportunities across the city, launching a community engagement strategy, galvanizing corporate and philanthropic resources across the region, establishing an Equity Impact Assessment tool and developing Equity Champions across citywide departments.
Additionally, the office is focused on supporting the Mayor’s progressive agenda while also working to “strengthen the impact and broaden the reach” of the city’s criminal justice reform efforts, including expansion of the Pre-Arrest Diversion program and increasing resources for the Office of the Public Defender.