Atlanta, GA

Andre Dickens officially sworn in as 61st mayor of Atlanta

Gené Hunter

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(ATLANTA, Ga.) Andre Dickens has been officially sworn in as the 61st Mayor of Atlanta on Monday afternoon.

Many were in attendance at Dicken's alma mater, the Georgia Institute of Technology, to view the ceremony and officially welcome Dickens into office despite frigid temperatures and cold winds.

The ceremony began with the new mayor thanking his predecessors in a speech. Names included William Hartsfield, Ivan Allen Maynard H. Jackson, Jr, Shirley Franklin, Kasim Reed and former mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Dickens addressed his plans as mayor, including tackling the issue of the lack of affordable housing throughout the city as well as the increase in crime throughout the metro Atlanta area. Both are prominent issues and concerns of residents across Atlanta.

“Now, our opponents are poverty, fear, inequality, violence, hopelessness, and homelessness,” Dickens said. “Each mayor had their burden in mind to bring us together to form a safe, clean, thriving city and to restore our sense of community.”

Dickens also discussed the Buckhead City secession movement which will become the topic du jour as the state house’s legislative session begins next week. During his speech, Dickens, also an ordained deacon, used the Book of Nehemiah as a backdrop to describe his frustrations with building the wall around Jerusalem. He spoke on the story about people being worried about crumbling infrastructure, but in 52 days, the wall was built.

“They chose to work together to accomplish a difficult task. They chose to unify and not to divide,” Dickens said. “And we need to choose to do the same.”

“We must be one city with one bright future, one city with one bright future. We have survived hard times before. We’ve survived crime ways before we survived the missing and murdered children. When I was growing up. We survived the Olympic Park bombing and we will survive the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dickens spoke on the focus of his administration which will prioritize Safety and Justice. He also spoke on his Safe Streets Atlanta plan, which promises to hire 250 police officers in 2022. Additionally, Dickens promised he’d train officers in conflict resolution, de-escalation tactics and community policing beginning in the first quarter of 2022.

“First of all, as your mayor and with their help, I want to make sure that our city is safe,” Dickens said.

“From Bankhead to Buckhead. I want to see our city be a place where little kids can play outside without being afraid of getting shot by a random bullet; where women can stop at a gas station and pump a few gallons of gas without fear of physical intimidation and where an elderly can feel empowered to come outside of their homes and can enjoy a walk in the park on a sunny day.”

Before becoming mayor, Dickens served as an at-large City Council member for two terms. As the Post 3 At-Large Councilmember, he was a vocal legislative leader on public safety, transportation, affordable housing and workforce development.

He served as the chairman of the Transportation Committee, providing oversight to city streets, bridges, sidewalks, paths and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport.

In 2017, he chaired the Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee, during which time homicides went down 33% and all violent crimes decreased 12%.

Many are optimistic about Dickens’ plans to move the city forward and create solutions to looming issues due to his passionate leadership throughout the city.

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