Good Afternoon Everyone:
On February 11 we hosted our regular Mayor’s Roundtable meeting. This is an initiative that I started several years ago, to foster better communication and collaboration with our municipal leaders here in DeKalb County. As usual we engaged in a useful exchange of
information and a candid dialogue on several issues. I would like to thank Tucker Mayor Frank Auman, Pine Lake Mayor Melanie Hammet, Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett, Clarkston Mayor Beverly H. Burks and Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst for participating. I will continue to hold these meetings for as long as the mayors see value in doing so.
Later that day it was great to meet with students in the School of Architecture at Georgia Tech. These advanced urban design students have selected to focus on East Memorial Drive for their project for this semester. It is always great to be in the presence of young people full of energy and enthusiasm and I look forward to the ideas and recommendations that they come up with later this spring.
I want to thank Professor Ellen Dunham-Jones, Dr. Tarek Rakha, Will Johnston and Erica Copenhaver from the MicroLife Institute for leading these students through this process. And I thank them for selecting Memorial Drive as an area of focus. I appreciate MARTA's support in supplying the bus and staff to assist with touring the 5 mile stretch of the Memorial Drive Corridor. I also want to thank our Planning and Sustainability Department for their continued focus on this vital commercial corridor.
On February 15 it was a great honor to host a joint Community Town Hall meeting with my friend and DeKalb Delegation General Assembly Colleague State Senator Kim Jackson. The meeting was well attended and we engaged in a robust dialogue on several important issues. I look forward to partnering with Sen. Jackson on other such events in the future.
On February 19 it was a great privilege to offer greetings at the grand opening of the Ethiopian Community Association’s Community Center on Memorial Drive. What a wonderful celebration of community. In my remarks that evening I underscored how much I value having this vibrant community in District 4. I would like to thank Director and CEO Yonas Tamiru Tafesse and all of my friends there for making me feel so welcome. I look forward to returning in the future.
Finally, under the heading of giving people their flowers while they are still alive, and in honor of Black History Month I will exercise a point of personal privilege by recognizing my father, Mr. Raymond Lewis Bradshaw in Savannah, GA. My father is now 83 years old. And after surviving COVID-19 over a year ago he is doing well.
He spent a career in the United States Navy. And then spent another career at the United States Postal Service.
When people walk into my county commission office on the fifth floor of the Maloof Building one of the first things people see is a photograph of the graduating class of the U.S. Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois, dated February 28, 1957. This was six years before I was born.
There are 55 young sailors in this picture. 54 of them are white. Folks always seemed to be drawn to that picture when they enter my office. And I always ask them to guess which one of those young sailors is my father.
I do not know the full extent of what my father put up within that environment back in 1957. But I can guess. Keep in mind that this was only 9 years after President Harry Truman had desegregated the military by executive order in 1948. Nor do I know how many other young
black men started out in that class with my father. As you might imagine there is always some degree of attrition associated with military training. Simply stated, some people just can’t take it. But Raymond Bradshaw was there at the end. And for that I am very proud.
29 years later in 1986, his son Stephen Ray Bradshaw graduated from the U.S. Army Armor Officer’s Basic Course in Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Of the 79 young tank officers in my class 20 of us were African American. Times do indeed change. And I hope that made my father proud.
Obviously, I would like to thank my father for his love and support over the course of my 58 years on earth. And for his service to the United States of America.
If you need any information or assistance, you may call my office at 404-371-4749, or visit my website at commissionerbradshaw.com. Finally, l will close today by once again, thanking the citizens of District 4 and DeKalb County for affording me this opportunity to serve. It is indeed, an honor.