Time to mix things up a bit.
I'm privileged to be invited to occasionally share my opinions on a couple of radio shows, including On Second Thought on Georgia Public Broadcasting. I'm also a pretty regular follower of the show. This week they broadcasted a story that I'd like to discuss because I think it's of particular importance to the type of communities that we celebrate at ABG. But before we begin, I want you to open your mind be willing to look through any bias or disagreement that you might have about the story I'm referring to. We're going to get in someone else's shoes and walk around. I'm going to connect with their story not because I agree with everything on their side of the argument but because if I look at my own life and my own struggles I can stand in their shoes and see our common humanity in their story.
The story I'm talking of is on a movement started after Killer Mike's proposal in the wake of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille in incidents involving police. Now, before you tune out, this is not an endorsement or condemnation of any group. It's not even really about the particular incidents that led to Killer Mike's proposal. It's about the power a community has. It's about the power of customers and neighbors.
Leading up to the proposal, Mike, who I have discovered to be a contemplative man of wisdom, was feeling powerless. He was looking for ways to get his concerns heard because destroying town was not an option he saw as constructive. His call to support the local bank was based on his identity with Atlanta's black community. That was a specific identification that he made. He was making the observation that these mega banks in Atlanta did not understand or care about his community.
And if you're honest with yourself,you have to admit that he's right, because these institutions don't understand or care about our communities either.And it isn't just the banks it that is what we're going to focus on right now. Citizens Trust Bank was opened on Atlanta's Auburn Avenue in 1921 as a response to black businessman Herman Perry being refused when he went to be sized for socks in a white owned clothing store. Perry knew that without access to banking services, black owned businesses would never be able to thrive in Atlanta. So he created access by the founding of CTB. The bank has become a piece of Georgia History and, more importantly, it became a part of the Atlanta community.
That is what we all need. We need banks, and other businesses, to be a part of our communities. We need them to understand us because they are us. We deserve to be more than a faceless account number. We deserve to have business transactions that don't have to be approved by some algorithm in Charlotte. We deserve to have a handshake that means something. We deserve to not have to do business with some mega corporation who vacuums dollars out of our community via fees and penalties making no contribution to the community.
So I applaud the campaign. We need to do business with companies who share our interests, who will thrive when our community thrives, who will suffer when our community suffers, and who understand us because they are us.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire