Fr3deR1cK Taylor, Emmy-winning director, and founder of TogetherATL (photo courtesy of Fr3deR1cK Taylor/Annie H. Hoffman).

In the same city where people blaze down highways in expensive vehicles, others are struggling  to feed their families. Financial equity is a growing problem in Atlanta, a city where suburban poverty has grown immensely in recent years. But Emmy award-winning director Fr3deR1cK Taylor is stepping in, with a project he calls “TogetherATL.”

Equity is different from equality. Equity is recognizing inequalities within certain groups and giving more support to them to accommodate. What TogetherATL will be doing is championing the cause to increase financial equity in Atlanta.

“We’re trying to create a blueprint for how to get people engaged and activated and the construct of having a unified front that is there to protect all people,” said Taylor.

Taylor has collaborated with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, a nonprofit organization. Frank Fernandez, president and CEO of the foundation, and Elyse Hammett, chair of a marketing committee, helped create TogetherATL.

Taylor, Fernandez and Hammett are not politicians. In fact, TogetherATL won’t be getting any assistance from any political leaders at this time.

“The idea of trying to align with political leaders on any side is futile,” said Taylor.

TogetherATL will have four funds where the organization will pool resources: the Arts, a Culture and Creative Enterprises Fund, the Housing and Neighborhood Fund and the Income and Wealth Fund and the Power and Leadership Fund.

Each of these will be using funds to address inequalities in these spaces. The Income and Wealth Fund will plan an essential role for TogetherATL by attempting to reduce growing wealth disparities. To Taylor, Atlanta could either “move forward” or “fall behind back into the 20th century.”

Taylor is a well-traveled man, so he has seen a lot. Before the days of TogetherATL, Taylor traveled the world as a means to create his award-winning documentaries; these films often addressed worldwide concerns. Though he won his Emmy for a mini documentary on a prominent dance movement in Atlanta, the places that really changed his perspective were not in America.

For his documentary on the pediatric AIDS epidemic, Taylor traveled to Romania.

It became an experience he soon wanted to forget.

At that point in his life, Taylor hadn’t seen white people living in impoverished areas. He argued that government housing districts in America were safer. What shocked him was how some western Europeans so easily dehumanized eastern Europeans. Many western Europeans didn’t want eastern Europeans to “spread through the EU.” Taylor had dealt with human inequality before, but what happened in Romania deeply disturbed him.

TogetherATL was created with the idea that promotion of invaluable human traits, such as equity and prosperity, can and will travel farther than just the metro Atlanta region. Taylor wants to create momentum that will result in a significant increase in the acquisition of housing. He wants to see an increase in voter participation. And he wants to see these initiatives have a positive effect on people throughout the country, not just Atlanta. 

Ideally, these concepts can even travel to the slums of Romania, where hope is still alive.