This past semester Atlanta University Center students and residents of the West End, Westview, and other surrounding communities congregated at the Westview Pizza Café. Nearly 40 people from the neighborhoods and schools attended this event. The meeting was held in conjunction between the Morehouse Student Government Association Senate and the Village Micro Fund (a local non-profit). The point of the meeting was to address the apparent divide between AUC students and surrounding communities.
English professor at Morehouse College, Jamila Lyn, guided the conversation throughout the night. She posed multiple questions regarding the negative stigma that Atlanta University Center students have about the near-by communities. Many students believe the negative stigma stems from administration and alumni, who share a misleading narrative about the dangers of the community. Other students believe the surrounding communities do not offer amenities when it comes to: shopping, part-time jobs, restaurants, and social venues.
Residents and business owners from West End, Westview, and Ashview Heights expressed why it is imperative for students to get involved with the community. Each resident spoke on why they decided on moving to this particular community, as well as articulating the importance and significance of their specific community. They explained how detrimental it is to the community when a large part of the community (Atlanta University Center Students) takes their money and time to other parts of Atlanta. Also, members of the community enlightened students about numerous opportunities the community offers, from volunteer initiatives to local shops, restaurants, and salons. Students and residents connected with each other after the event, furthering the discussion.
This event broke ground on many issues that were lingering over the Atlanta University Center and the community in which it’s located. Both demographics believe not only is it beneficial, but absolutely necessary to continue taking steps towards bridging the gap. Based on this momentum and success of the first event, the Morehouse SGA Senate plans to host similar events in the upcoming months.