Yet another mayoral debate took place Thursday night, and there are the two candidates, Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore and councilman Andre Dickens took the stage in front of television cameras to spread their respective gospels. The pair have ideas on how to make Atlanta a safer city, better city and more financially responsible city. All of which many have heard over the past few months and dozens of debates. 

 What was different this time was that the debate took place inside of the Henderson Student Center at Clark Atlanta University. Hosted by the university and Georgia Stand Up, an Atlanta-based social justice non-profit, the spacious auditorium was filled with student volunteers helping usher members of numerous communities to their seats.

Broadcast live on CBS46, and moderated by Karyn Greer, a veteran journalist and CBS news anchor, and Dr. Rashad Richey, a local radio personality, the debate felt more like a family gathering than a political event. That had a lot to do with it taking place in the Atlanta University Center, according to Georgia Stand Up CEO Deborah Scott, who took time to take questions from the crowd before the debate.

“Other candidate forums have dealt with other issues, but this one is about the community,” she said. “This is historic, it’s being televised and we are going to hold whoever wins accountable. We have this tape.”

 

Clark Atlanta University President Dr. George T. French, Jr. took time to thank the attendees, candidates and CBS46, said, “Historically Black Colleges and Universities are responsible for the creation of the African American middle class in this nation. French, the fifth president in the school’s history added, “Thank God for HBCUs.”

 

There wasn’t a question and answer format and the applause was being controlled by a producer, but that did not stop the crowd from reacting to the candidates statements on crime, transit, HBCUs, the Buckhead city movement and what either would do on their first day in office. 

 

With equally important gubernatorial and senatorial elections coming up in 2022, all four members of the Atlanta University Center; Clark Atlanta, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Spelman College, should be on the list of debate locations for not only Democratic candidates, but Republican alike.

The city’s Black colleges are filled with concerned and educated voters that people like Senator Rev. Rafael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Stacey Abrams, the presumed Democratic gubernatorial candidate, will need if they are going to win heavily contested elections. HBCUs matter, now more than ever. On Thursday, November 18 Clark Atlanta University demonstrated that. 

 

(Photo Credit: Donnell Suggs/ The Atlanta Voice)