Atlanta is changing dramatically in the wrong direction. I am running to restore safety and security and address the epidemic of gun violence and crime. I aspire to be a part of the plan that expedites recruiting, retaining, promoting, and training community-based responders in alignment with Obama’s 21st Century Policing plan, social justice, and criminal justice reform.
I am running because Atlanta’s children have been slow to return to school and have experienced high rates of learning loss. I have spent most of my professional life in education and cannot let my 30 years of service not bridge the City of Atlanta-to-Atlanta Public Schools. We must steward our children through COVID and return youth employment opportunities to our workforce development planning.
I am running because we have not done right by our Seniors. I was raised to revere, respect and elevate my elders. It is devastating to see seniors struggle for food, be taxed out of their homes, and be fearful about crime. Atlanta can do better.
I am running because I can arrive Day One ready as a crisis-tested leader with expert credentials. Following the cheating scandal of Atlanta Public Schools, I handled 1,600 citizen complaints and served as Ombudsman. I have the education, skills, and experience necessary to serve and lead a citywide constituent base and global city in the right direction. I have worked for 30 years as a leader in the private sector, higher and public education, and public service. I will bring excellence, integrity, and intellectual distinction to my service at City Hall. On my watch citizens will receive what they deserve, need, and expect from the City of Atlanta.
I feel deeply as a small business owner for those hit hardest by COVID such as women and minority owned businesses. I will champion entrepreneurs, new business development and job creation. Every Atlanta will be able to actualize their dreams, afford a home, have access to connected transportation neighborhood-to- neighborhood, and live in an environment that reflects care for and preservation of our earth and the environment.
I will also address issues with our roads and infrastructure, uplift those in need, support the extension of housing and wrap around services to the unsheltered. I am running to advance civility and bond Atlantans together again: Old Atlanta to New Atlanta (because Old Atlanta planted the seeds that got us here, and an inclusive New Atlanta is steering us forward); Millennials to boomers (because they have new ideas about our future and we have a stabilizing compass that can keep the tasks at hand on track); SW to NW (as our tale of two cities has to be reconciled – and - income inequality addressed by equity, education, and opportunity); and Wealthy to Wage Earning (because there is enough of everything to go around).
My name is Jodi Merriday (affectionately called Dr. Jodi). My vision for Atlanta is that we put people first in safe neighborhoods, schools, and streets with robust business expansion, jobs, unified transit, and a vibrant arts and entertainment culture. I was born in Atlanta, and rode the bus from Southwest to Northwest Atlanta to achieve the dream of Dr. King. I attended Warren T. Jackson Elementary, Sutton Middle, and Frederick Douglass High schools. By the age of 15, I had a work permit, worked at Six Flags and Wendy’s. After graduating high school, I attended Hampton University in the fall of 1989. Helping to realize this dream came from attending Atlanta Public Schools’ annual Dream Jamboree—where all APS students had a chance to explore colleges and apply to them on-site.
I explored the world after Hampton because that’s what Atlanta taught me to do. I earned a Master’s from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Doctorate from Temple University. I have lived in America, Africa, and Europe and can affirmatively say, there’s no place in the world like my home and, “I love Atlanta!”
I have been a public servant all my life. A transformational professional highlight occurred when I established Atlanta Public Schools’ Office of the Ombudsmen following the cheating scandal and provided resolution in over 1,600 incidents of constituent concerns. It was truly fulfilling to be a drum major of impartial justice. I also wrote the grant that led to Atlanta being a recipient of the Cities of Service grant, helped launch City of Atlanta pilot Centers of Hope for youth, and served as Special Assistant to the President of Spelman College’s launch of the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement.
I am asking for your vote, endorsement, and support. The race for Atlanta City Council Post 3 At-Large is a citywide election, meaning my name will be on every ballot when you vote on November 2. Please lend your support and join me on the campaign trail.