If you have not seen the hashtag or t-shirts, you will over the next eight years because it is true, Atlanta does have a mayor named Keisha. The election of the 60th Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has brought a new level of excitement in the Atlanta community. Who care’s that the mayor has a unique name? Only every person with a name that is difficult to spell or hard to pronounce.*
Those of you with common names like Gail, Clair, and Gary will never understand the childhood disappointments of people with uncommon names. Anyone who has ever had the experience of turning a display of key chains or license plates in a souvenir store only to be disappointed when we do not find a name we could identify with. We knew we would not find our name before we started looking but that did not stop us from having hoping. Now extrapolate this feeling into adulthood where an urban name like “Keisha” on a resume is more likely to get passed over than “Karen.” This special fraternity of uniquely named people care that Atlanta has a mayor named Keisha.
The excitement of the community is admittedly contagious. Maybe it will be spark that will lead to a newly engaged electorate. Engagement requires more than wearing a t-shirt, however. It requires participating in the mundane issues of finances, safety, and watching the ethics of the government. It requires watching the news, talking to people, going to meetings and staying informed. It requires boy giving credit where it is due and holding leaders, by any name, accountable. And fair warning, not every elected official will put on the reality show Donald Trump is producing. Despite the difficulty in getting information we must remain vigilant. Particularly at the local level where decisions have larger effects on our personal lives.
Personal preferences aside, the energy behind Mayor Lance Bottoms’ win makes respecting the Office of the Mayor a little easier. I hope the Mary Norwood, Caesar Mitchell, and supporters of the other 1,392 candidates in the mayoral race will be optimistic that this energy is a turn in the right direction. Democrats have bigger fish to fry and cannot afford to remain in a place of division.
*See my previous post about why Keisha is special in the black community.