City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia residents, and leaders speak out about change and actively becoming a more anti-racist community.
This third episode of this mini-part series includes community activist and multimedia consultant Mo Reilley and activist Michael Murphy-McCarthy (Director of Information Technology and Information Management Systems at The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.) Join them along with Peachtree Corners Life podcast host Rico Figliolini and series co-host Karl Barham in this intensive discussion to try and solve these issues. Recorded socially safe online and in the City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:05:29] – Thoughts on the Protests
[00:09:57] – Why Now?
[00:12:07] – Can this Happen Everywhere?
[00:23:38] – Defunding
[00:34:59] – Racism in Schools
[00:43:25] – Zoning Issues
[00:53:34] – Having More Voices at the Table
[00:59:07] – Actionable Steps
[01:10:13] – Closing
“I don’t know what the ask is, but I believe that out of giving that, we can coalesce and come up with some specific actions that we want to ask the city to do. And this isn’t just about standing on the street. This is about affirming people, gathering voices, gathering more voices, starting to work together, trying to create some change.”Michael Murphy-McCarthy
Rico: [00:00:30] The serious issue that over the last month, two months almost, has taken to the streets of every city in the country. So, you know, we, Karl Barham and I have put together this series. Karl did a lot of the heavy lifting and all the work on this really, I’ve got to say of bringing the guests together. And, so Karl take it from here, introduce who we have today.
Karl: [00:00:56] Oh, absolutely. Well, this is our third installment of a discussion we thought was important to just show the people in local communities like Peachtree Corners here in Georgia can have conversations about social justice, racial justice. Talk about their experiences, talk about things they’ve seen in the community. Talk about ways that we can learn from each other, ways that we can improve the community, not just for ourselves, but for our children. As we go forward, back in May on the 26th of May, everyone has probably seen the video. George Floyd being killed by a police officer during an arrest. A couple of weeks later in June 12th, another 27 year old African American father was shot and killed by Atlanta police officer while he was responding to a complaint of a man being asleep in his car. Anyone could watch that and would agree, including the officer that that’s not the outcome we wanted to see, or they would hope that would happen. But if you think about it, we’re 30 days past the beginning of the black lives matters movement protests and various protests around the country. And we’re, the conversation has opened up, it’s hitting corporate America and businesses. It’s happening in churches. It’s happening in schools, it’s happening in households. And so today on Peachtree Corners Life, we invited some local residents and leaders in the community to start this discussion here. And if you’ve seen any of the first two episodes, you can go to Peachtree Corners Life to see some of those conversations. And today, I am honored and privileged to have two more local residents leaders, and members of the community just to continue that conversation. So people could see that we can talk about this. We can maybe offer some suggestions and opinions on how we feel about, how it impacts systemic racism and some of these things that help allow things like what’s happening in the police, in law enforcement, what’s happening with black people, how it’s impacting different areas. So I’m going to ask our guests, Mo Reilley, who is a resident and entrepreneur and a mother of several wonderful children to introduce herself first. And then I’ll introduce Michael.
Mo: [00:03:27] Hey everybody I’m Mo Reilley. You pretty much did my introduction for me. I’m from the Midwest originally. But we have been in Peachtree corners for over seven years. I guess we came shortly after it actually became a city, which is kind of cool. I have three boys. I have twin ten-year-olds and a four year old. I guess for the sake of this discussion, we could also mention that they are biracial. My fiance is black. He works in Tech Park, Atlanta Tech Park, even though this is Peachtree Corners. And, yeah, I’m excited to join the conversation with you guys.
Karl: [00:04:08] Excellent. Next up Michael Murphy-McCarthy, is also a resident. He is a local leader active in many civic pursuits. And I’d love for you to tell a little bit about yourself, Michael.
Michael: [00:04:24] I moved to Georgia in 1995 to go to grad school. And bought a house in the city and had a job downtown and was living the, the city life. And then my job moved out here to
Peachtree corners and my wife and I were debating what to do and we had a three year old. So we decided to just move up here to Peachtree Corners and had a nice short commute for a long time about, 14 years. And then my, employer decided to mess up my life and move the office back inside the Perimeter. But I’ve stayed here in Peachtree Corners and expect to stay here. So I’ve been here in Peachtree Corners now for, almost 18 years. So my son who’s 21, went up through the schools, graduated Norcross high school. And, so I’ve seen quite a bit of change in this area. I remember when the BP gas station, on 141, which is no longer there was like a major landmark. It was across from the CVS. Seems like a far distant past.
Karl: [00:05:29] Well, the city’s evolved quite a bit, since then, and it’s continuing to evolve. For one of the things that’s impacting all of our communities around the country is what’s happening with black lives matters and the protest. So I’m curious if I, if I wanted to start off with as we were in the middle of COVID-19 and all of the, the social distancing, what was your reaction when you saw George Floyd and the protest that came out of that that’s been going on for 10 years, but as that started to come alive again, what’s your reaction to what’s been going on, around both the racial injustice that’s being displayed and, and the protest. Maybe Michael, you could start?
Michael: [00:06:24] Well, since you brought up COVID, I’ve been social isolating since March. Haven’t actually worked out of my office since then. And, you know, has been a bit of adjustment since then. When George Floyd was killed. My reaction was not again. Because you know, there’s been Ahmaud Arbery, there’s just, you know, obviously a long list of black men who have been killed by the police, in the streets. And I usually don’t watch a lot of online video, but I watched the video of George Floyd and, I guess actually watching a video of it impacted me, pretty strongly. And I’ve in response I decided to break isolation for protests. It’s funny. I haven’t been to a grocery store or a restaurant anywhere, but I’m out on the streets regularly protesting now. Because I’m just angered and fed up by how people are being treated and that we have sanctioned killing of black men in the streets of America. And I find it completely unacceptable.
Karl: [00:07:41] Mo I’m wondering, you’ve got young black men you’re raising and I can imagine the impact that you might’ve felt.
Mo: [00:07:55] Yeah to Michael’s point, we hadn’t really been doing anything either. We’d been in the house. And of course, immediate rage took over myself and you know, basically all of my friends and anybody who saw the video that I’m connected with, it immediately took me back to what is that six years ago to Michael Brown in Ferguson. And when that happened, I just remember being like, we have to go there. I was just trying to figure out anyway to get involved. Can we go there? How do we, how do we help? How do we get involved? So with this, we did not go down to the protest the very first day. I remember it just like turning up and feeling that I wanted to go, okay, we have to go. We have to go. But on top of the COVID you could kind of see with everything that was already happening in Missouri and kind of in other big cities that everything was going to reach a fever pitch very quickly. So I made the personal decision. Okay,
we’re not going to go. We’re not going to take the boys. And they have gone to protests with me. We went to the abolish ice protest. They’ve been actively involved in things before. I knew this one was going to be just a little bit different. So I stayed home, but I immediately got involved the best way I could from the house. Making phone calls, watching the live streams, sending out resources, donating, connecting people with Atlanta solidarity in case there were arrests that were made. I did everything and have been doing everything I could from the house while also communicating why mommy is glued to her phone and why she’s on the computer so much and, you know, sharing a little bit with the boys what we feel is okay to share with them, and just navigating it that way on top of COVID. And that’s, that’s the other reason why, we chose not to go out as a family, you know, it was kind of multi-tiered.
Karl: [00:09:57] I’m wondering in your conversations with, you know, friends, family, what is it about this that triggered this, this wider spread awareness? we know that it’s happened before there over the last 10 years. But something hit, With people on this one, I’m wondering, what is it, do you think you’re hearing from people that you talk to that makes, makes them more aware and more angered by what they’re seeing?
Mo: [00:10:32] I think, you know, to Michael’s point really enough is enough. Because news and I’m not talking about mainstream media, but actual live news comes at you so quickly with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. And with everybody being able to go live and catching it in real time. You’re not faced with the delay of it being shown on the news or the recap at 6:00 PM or 11:00 PM and oh, this happened earlier. You know, it was literally like this happened, there was already a crowd of people that crowd is growing. Boom. And there is nothing good about what happened, but to just use the phrase of a perfect storm. You know, with COVID more people were at home, more people, it was like a pause. Everybody’s awareness is already heightened and we’re kind of already tuned into what’s going on. We’re already looking at the news. We’re already checking social media and then bam. It was there. And to that point, you know, a lot of people are not at work right now. So there’s more people available to get involved, whether it be at the protests or online, or going to, you know, the meetings or being part of these zoom meetings and conversations. So I just think, you know, good, bad and indifferent in such a time as this and why not now? And now that it’s here, there’s no letting up.
Karl: [00:12:07] Is there an element of it that with Michael Brown and so many others, those were in you know, whether it’s New York, city, Baltimore, other places, cities where, you know, there’s going to be this intersection of law enforcement and others. And, and these things can happen because it’s not here. When you think of Minneapolis and Minneapolis, for those that have been there, has, an urban city area, but a lot of it is suburban. But if you’re not from there, you can think of the Midwest as pretty much laid back and seeing that this is repeating all over the country. Not just in the cities or in the coast, it’s happening in communities all over. Is there, is there an element of this that might be where, where people feel this could happen in their neighborhood? Can this happen in Gwinnett County and Fulton County and Alpharetta and Duluth in Peachtree corners. Is this something that, that you think can happen here? Not so
much because, the police force is a particular way, but just the systemic racism that allows that to happen, it can manifest itself anywhere in the country.
Mo: [00:13:24] Do you want to jump in Michael?
Michael: [00:13:27] You can talk again or I can jump in.
Mo: [00:13:34] Jump in.
Michael: [00:13:36] I, I’m not sure. You know, cause I’m thinking Minneapolis has a history of issues with the police. And so, you know, if you’ve been, yeah, so it’s on the one hand of all it’s, you know, nice thinking mid West. But on the other hand that you’ve been paying attention to Minneapolis, you know, that they’ve had a history of issues. I, I think in some ways it comes down to what Mo said about it being a perfect storm more than necessarily the incidents. But on the other hand, watching that video, I think there’s something about the fact that. There was just this kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds. That’s a long time to just very intentionally kneel on someone. It wasn’t a quick pull out the gun and shoot him three times in two seconds or, you know, as they’re running away. This was a very, very slow, deliberate act. And you know, he could’ve gotten up after four minutes. He could have gotten up after five minutes and he would have lived, but eight minutes and 46 seconds of slowly, deliberately killing him.
Karl: [00:14:53] With witnesses on camera and three other law enforcement officers present, that paints a very telling picture.
Mo: [00:15:04] Yeah. I just think, to your question about, you know, people wondering, can it happen here and is it possible, you know. Of course, because, there is a system in place where, as Michael said, you know, police brutality is sanctioned. We can’t act like law enforcement and the system of policing didn’t originate in slavery. All of the systems that are in place come from that time. And we’ve yet to address it. We’ve yet to disband it or abolish it or defund it or whatever words, you know, people are using whatever the mission is. So of course it can happen here because just a couple of weeks after George Floyd, it did happen here. Sure, it was over on university Avenue, but Rayshard Brooks was killed. Just you know, 20 minutes from where we live in Peachtree Corners. So it’s here. It might not be directly, you know, in this zip code and it might not be in Alpharetta, but you also have to think about, why is that? Well, you have to look at the demographics of the city. If your city is naturally segregated and it’s a higher white population, then is the possibility of police brutality or police killings less than, you know, in the inner city, the Metro city of Atlanta. Sure. Because that’s what statistics show us. You know, we, and we saw Major Kane come and give her presentation at the city council meeting. And I honestly was just left with more questions. So I have a list and you know, and I know you’ve reached out to some of them to have them on the show and, you know, she used there’s these buzz words, and she just kept saying, and we do this for transparency, and we do this for transparency and she kept saying it, and I’m thinking, so if you have an early identification review board, how many incidents involving use of four police officers happened
before the review? The example she gave, and I don’t know if it was actual statistic or if it was a flippant example, was that say if the, early identification review board is looking at everything annually. And this officer happens to have used force 10 times an alarm goes off or a bell rings and then, you know, that person is placed for review. So we’re waiting an entire 12 year period or whatever their reporting period is. And allowing this one officer to have 10 instances of use of force before we’re reviewing them. How does that work? What outside agency is reviewing the use of force reports, because Gwinnett County police department, Atlanta police department, wherever you are, they cannot police themselves. You simply can’t. And she kept talking about, you know, how these reports happen and how things are sent up the chain of command. How do I know your chain of command is not corrupt? And if it’s a bunch of white cops reviewing their buddies what’s, what’s being missed in between? And I’m just, so I have a lot of curiosity and questions about the use of force reports, how they’re reviewed when they’re made public, what action is taken with the officer after they’ve been pinged, you know, a multitude of times for use of force. What is happening? And she was saying there’s transparency. But I’ve Googled. I don’t and if I don’t know what to look for or where to look, that’s not transparent. You’re telling me the information is there, but if you’re not telling me, Hey, you can go on the Gwinnett County police department and click on this link. And this is going to show you, which of our officers were disciplined or fired or looked into for their use of force. You’re not being transparent. We have no idea who’s policing us.
Karl: [00:19:33] That’s very interesting. As you mentioned that specific event example, because that’s often how systemic racism, is sometimes not seen or addressed. Because if the system is set up in a way where, those reviews or, or third party accountability isn’t happening. It’s easy for folks and it’s a tough decision for many of my friends in law enforcement. There was a, a brotherhood that exists and they’re doing a very hard, dangerous job for protecting us. Their, their job very often they work late, they work hard. but if there are individuals that in a particular instance, Is doing something that doesn’t fit the values of the, of the police department stepping in, deescalating, helping, you know, my brother’s keeper, helping the other ones stay within the values that they’re, that they strive for. If there isn’t a culture that’s that’s okay. Say, look, you know what you got, you’re getting out of hand or if someone else is seeing something, they don’t say something to get the person, whether it’s mental health, counseling, coaching, retraining, all of these different tools that are available. Someone’s got to be there. That can be that objective person that’s looking at it. So I don’t know if there’s a citizen review board for our…
Rico: [00:21:09] Not in Gwinnett County. But you bring up a good point though, Karl. The, and it is a police culture because I mean, if you’re looking at the Atlanta police force, they could 58 or 60% black African Americans on the police force. It’s majority minority on the police force and yet they still have issues, right? So it is a cultural thing within the police force where they’re protecting themselves. This is what unions do. Also, if it’s union honest and protect themselves, we’ve been through this discussion where, you know, they’ll negotiate salaries and stuff, and maybe even bring back police officers that are not, that were suspended at one point let’s say. Or quite frankly I know, for example, Gwinnett County police trains quite a few police in their Academy, they have a great Academy. They train them well, I believe. But after a year or two,
these guys, they leave and they join other city police forces. And then you get, and I’ve seen it because I’ve had some friends from New York, New Jersey, the Northern States. Where they retire and then they come down and then become police officers in more rural towns. So, you know, and they’re used to doing things a certain way. Maybe that culture is, you know, coming here. I mean, it’s, I don’t think a police force does any different from, from one place to another as much, because, because of what you said too Karl, they face a lot of, there’s crime in the streets. I mean, there’s things that are bad. They can get killed. They’ve been targeted for assassination themselves even. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have, we shouldn’t have respect for each other, that the police force is not there as a violent tool of government, that it’s there to keep everyone safe and, you know, and we just have to, I think we have to see how we get past where we are. So then we can, we can, I don’t know. I don’t say personal dismantling. I don’t know. I don’t know how Mo and Michael feel about dismantling. I think changing and maybe actually dismantling is the word defunding, right? Dismantling it. I guess if we’re going to use words like that as what you want to do, you want to remove the parts that need to do the police duties way from the parts that don’t need police to be doing that, right? You don’t need it.
Karl: [00:23:38] There’s always rhetoric. Like Rico, you’re mentioning these terms of defunding, dismantling the police force. There’s an element of it that’s political rhetoric that folks will do and play in that arena. Well, let’s just keep it simple. What do you think is meant by changing the police force, whether it’s to defunding or dismantling. What do you, what do you think people are asking for there? I’m curious your opinion on that.
Rico: [00:24:07] My opinion? Or let’s go to Mo maybe.
Mo: [00:24:13] Well, it means what it says. I think, especially now with, policy budgets and everything being looked at in most of the major cities. There is no city right now that should be having an increase of funding going to their police force. I’m looking at the numbers last year, right? Gwinnett County police department responded to 516,570 calls. Over a half a million police calls. Do they have a tough job? Yes. We also have to look at what community issues are happening and what is happening in people’s brains, that they are calling the police 516,000 times instead of in many instances. Talking to your neighbor, talking to the person that you’re saying is acting suspicious or ignoring it. That’s an option too, depending on what it is that you’re seeing and what it is that you’re calling the police for. And so, you know, Major Kane, did say that they have, some nonprofits and some organizations on standby that they can call if somebody is having a mental break or having an episode. And the goal is not always necessarily to take people to jail. But I know that if you go very, very baseline and scale, we’re talking about way down, starting at like my kid’s age and start looking at, the inequality and inequity in the school system. That’s where things start. So you start going through these systems and it’s like, okay, well, where else could that money be going instead of shoveling it into the police systems. And allowing them to have more riot gear when we don’t have enough PPE for the hospitals and the facilities that are handling COVID. Things are not balanced. So the defunding conversation has to happen because I’m not understanding why medical
programs, community outreach programs, educational programs, and all of these things are being cut and people can understand what defund that means. But when we started talking about defund police, people are like, I don’t get it. I don’t understand. Yes, you do. But maybe it’s scary or maybe you don’t understand. And there are websites and there is literature out there to help people understand, but you have to take a huge chunk of this money and redistribute it over here so that we can start seeing a balance happen in our communities and in the systems that are in place.
Rico: [00:27:14] Wouldn’t it be better if, I remember there was a zero budget thing done there Reagan’s time. I’m not saying that that would be it, but you know, you start from a budget of zero. What do you need to accomplish the thing that you need to do? Right? Policing break-ins, murder, robberies, whatever it takes, money police force. Wouldn’t it be better. Because just, you know, I think it was a, was it the Blasio? I think, but just the other day I said, we’re going to take a billion dollars from the police. We’re going to move it somewhere else. That sounds easy. That’s a lot of money. What would the using a billion dollars for it to begin with then, that he could easily take that away. And still do what the police is supposed to be doing at least on a minimal basis, right? Because how does that work? I mean, I don’t know. I’m bringing up some more questions cause I don’t think it’s as easy as moving money around because if it was that easy. It’s definitely a cultural thing. It can’t just be that, but I do agree with you Mo and I’ve always felt that education from Pre-Kindergarten or from taking care of our kids because they all start innocent. No one is born a racist, they all start innocent. If we could just bring them up the right way with the right mentors, then I think we’d have a better world, but I agree with you there for sure. And it’s hard work. It’s not going to be easy. It’s really hard work doing that.
Michael: [00:28:52] One of the things that I think about when I hear defund police is it’s terrible marketing. People just have a viscerally bad reaction to defund the police. Yes, we, we defund education. We defund healthcare all the time, but we don’t even talk about it in that language because people wouldn’t, you know, that language to do those things would not be acceptable either. And I, I do think that we have, a priority issue here with what we do with our money. And that, you know, reevaluating how much we’re spending on policing and healthcare and all these things are a big piece of it. Cause we we’ve created. a society where we spend more money on militarizing the police and on sticks and on punishment and on the prison pipeline and, on weapons than we do on creating a caring community where we actually take care of each other. And, and if we created, if we put our money into education and health care and building better community, we wouldn’t be locking people up in the same way that we are.
Karl: [00:30:15] I think you’re, you’re that that’s a really good insight you’re sharing because I could see someone listening to the conversation and hearing defund police. And immediately I used to remember a description, the wall comes up and says, you’re saying make me less safe. And, and I don’t think that’s what you’re saying. So there’s a nuance to listening to, to this movement, to this statement around defund police. But let’s say there was a billion dollars out there that could be moved to other places. If you replace defund police with, address racial injustice, let’s take a billion dollars and put the smart people in government universities, elected
officials and give them a billion dollars and say, look, let’s start with one system at a time. Criminal justice. Let’s look at the data. Let’s look at who, who gets pulled over. What specific actions, different behaviors can drive different outcomes when you pull somebody over. If, if someone is sleeping in their car in a Wendy’s drive through and you get the call and whatever the circumstances are, there’s an awareness that the outcome of that should be someone get an Uber. So let’s take some of that billion dollars and let’s give everybody an Uber credit card where you could send people home that needs to be sent home when there’s no immediate threat to life and so on. If you look in the education system, there’s, there’s many statistics out there that show people of color get, higher disciplines. They get less access. So that’s happening and it’s, I don’t know that any single individual is intentionally doing that. Let’s take some of that billion dollars and let’s figure out why that’s happening and put systems and things in place to help decrease that. If you go to the healthcare system, COVID-19 exposed, who gets impacted? We can’t get the right people if you’re frontline workers, that’s giving us groceries, can’t have, family leave if they get sick, they can’t afford to get sick. Even though they’re providing the service, let’s take some of the billion dollars and do that. But I think there is the part of this where you look at the systemic nature of what’s going on and people’s response. And if you could, I think you said it right, Michael, market that make that sound interesting. Make that sound a more just society. Sound like something people would want to do. I think people could understand with a constraint budget that maybe some of those funds could be better used in these other areas, especially if it brings about a more just society where people can be more evenly or equitably, responded to, or their needs being met. Food for thought.
Rico: [00:33:17] In a, in a utopian society. We’d all be equal, right? We’d all have the same income. We’d all have the same pleasures, same life. We’d be enjoying life. We wouldn’t be worried about all these other things, right? Politicians keep coming back to us and they tell us, well, if we do universal basic income where everyone has at least a minimum income, we should be all firing. We’re in, you know, I’m Italian heritage, born first generation American. I saw my father work for 18 hour shifts and stuff to, to build a business, to do, do what you hear immigrants do all the time, right? But we’re all tribal too, in a way, right? We all like to be among ourselves sometimes. Now that’s been changing. I know from my generation, for example, I wanted to be Americanized. I learned the language, and became American right? My kids, second generation American don’t even know how to speak Italian. I know how to speak it a little bit. My cousin will slap me around a little bit because bad grammar maybe but, you know, but would be that they assimilate, right? My kids, you know, Mo. You’re married to an African American, right? My kid’s going out with an Asian American. You know, I went out with, Hispanic girls when I was in Brooklyn. I mean, we grew up different, right. We have different, but not everyone’s like that. So it’s a cultural thing. That’s going to take generations to change. Maybe this is the beginning. Cause that eight minute, eight plus minute is just, I mean, it’s wrong. I mean, anyone that looks at it that has got to be sad about it.
Karl: [00:34:59] Here’s an interesting thought around that line. And I, and I look at growing up watching and being taught about racism from, from my family, my dad, and so on. There was always, he would always talk about the individual racism. Someone comes up to you and treats
you badly and, you know, be aware of that, you know, it could be dangerous or these things, some people’s hearts are that way. Don’t know that we could change that rapidly. There’s only a few things that can change people’s hearts and they may be better served finding it through, through their pastors. And other means to do that. But, but this, this systemic one is the one that my dad would tell me about and that’s the one that I think, today people have an opportunity to impact that. So I would say I’m not terribly concerned of the individual racism, that people have in their hearts. That exists. It’s a problem. We want that to change. But it’s been interesting. if you take, education, if you apply to an Ivy league school like Harvard they’re there, everyone is not on a level playing field and getting into a school like Harvard, there’s going to be challenges and people talk about affirmative action and all these different things. But I know for a fact that most schools have legacy programs. That means if your parents went to the school, it gives you a leg up to get into school. That sounds like a form of affirmative action. If someone now, if everyone didn’t historically have the same opportunity to go to all these schools, that’s built in systemic racism, playing out in a way that’s hidden, but it’s commonly acceptable.
Rico: [00:36:44] Do you know where that came from though Karl? That came from the thirties and twenties, where there were too many Jewish people entering those colleges and they decided to create a legacy program to stemie that.
Karl: [00:36:57] So, right. So what if you break the chain? Right? So there’s a lot of things. I mean, monuments are coming down. Things are changing. But I don’t know, I’m not particularly focused on any particular one thing, I just know that if people want to impact change, They can look at and search for these evidence and examples of systemic racism in their workplace, in their church, in the schools, in any part of society and take the beautiful talents that people have. Leadership, business leaders out there, individual leaders get involved and pull together that coalition that could change it, if you see it’s unjust. You know, folks can influence and change policies if that’s what they want to do to help everybody. If you want to help people of color, you know, changing hearts is great, but I can tell you there’s a, there’s a very specific action that could be done to change systems. Break the chains that these systems have that could be holding people back.
Mo: [00:38:05] I think, just to your point about education, because things sometimes seem very grand or distant when we talk about colleges and, and things like that. So just to bring it back to Peachtree Corners, right. Gwinnett County is a bubble outside of Metro Atlanta, Forsyth down there. You know, you come up here sometimes you don’t even know what’s going on in the city. Peachtree Corners is its bubble. And then inside there, you have its own little bubbles. Because when you look at Simpson elementary and Peachtree elementary, you can very clearly see between them, Berkeley Lake and some of the other schools that we are still very much segregated in our community. Our community is segregated. There’s no way to get around that. And I don’t know if that we’re still falling victim to redlining that happened 60, 70, 80 years ago, or sooner than that. Or if it’s just been, yes, it started with redlining and segregationist policies, and then people just got comfortable. Simpson elementary is over 70% white. How, how is that even possible? And how are the parents who are sending their kids to Simpson oblivious to that,
or not aware or not cognizant of. What’s happening in our community. It’s 70% white and only 7% black. And speaking to the disciplinarian and the school to prison pipeline. As far as suspensions and disciplinary actions, the white students make up less than 1%. Black students it’s over 4%. So there’s less black kids in your school. And yet here we are seeing that they’re suspended and disciplined more then the white students who are the majority. My kids go to Peachtree before COVID, anyway, we don’t know what we’re doing now. Who knows? So Peachtree is 40% black, 40 ish percent Hispanic, Latinex, and then 10% white. So it’s still an issue, right? We’re still segregated. We’re just on the completely opposite side. Everybody feeds into Pinckneyville. All of these surrounding schools. That’s the middle school. That’s where all of our kids are going. When you get up to the middle school level, things start to balance out. You’re about 30, 32, 33% white. Same for black. Same for Hispanic, Latinex. White students equal 3% or lower of suspension and disciplinary actions and black students are suspended at a rate of 14% or higher. Are you telling me somehow that black kids are, they’re acting out more, they’re fighting more, something is happening? No, the system is built against them from the very beginning. And so when you talk about people being community leaders and making effective change and making a difference in what to do moving forward, you don’t have to be an elected official. You don’t have to be a business owner in the community. You don’t have to serve on the board. You have to just look outside your front door. Holcomb bridge is literally like the proverbial railroad tracks. It’s what it is. And it’s been that way. And it’s why my kids and most of their friends are over here. And you have all of these other kids that are in Amberfield and Simpsonwood and all these other neighborhoods. And we are not even really considering buying a house over there because one, if my kids have to transfer to Simpson, they’re going to be the only black kids in their class. Almost guaranteed. My fiance, who’s the big black guy with dreads, when he wears a hoodie or he’s out wanting to jog in one of those neighborhoods or he’s out hanging out, is he going to be able to be comfortable knowing that none of his neighbors are gonna call the police on him? No. Our community is segregated and people have to take that into consideration. It’s not a far off thing. It’s not happening just in Atlanta. It’s not happening just in Detroit where I moved here from, that’s not the case. It’s here, it’s at our front steps. So if people actually want to affect change, you literally have to look at your cul-de-sac. Why does it look like this? And how can we change it? And that’s where it starts.
Rico: [00:43:25] Can I jump in a second? Because I agree to some extent for what you’re saying, racism is like Karl said individual, right. And Simpson is majority white and because of the way, just to play the other side of that, right. It’s majority white because the area is majority white, that, that feeds into. The homes are a certain price level because that’s the nature of these homes. You’re not going to make them any cheaper. This is the way the neighborhood is. If you can afford to live here. I haven’t seen in my, since 95, I’ve seen plenty of people come and go. I don’t see, and I’ve, I I’m familiar with red lightening and worked for Chuck Schumer for a year through a constituent work and I worked with the democratic party in Brooklyn, so I’m familiar with that. I don’t see that here. At least not now. Was it here 20 years ago? I have no idea. But I don’t see that now. I see, what I see is it’s an economic, it’s almost like a class thing versus racial thing on that aspect of it. Right? More expensive homes. You have to have the income to come here to buy. I mean, my son can’t move here. He’s going to have to buy a
condo somewhere where it’s cheaper because he can’t afford it. And that’s fine because he’s a younger guy, he’s twenty-four years old, right, so.
Karl: [00:44:48] But Rico, if I could, if I could build on that a little bit. So if you peel that back, we do, and you worked on the zoning and zoning when we make multi-year strategic plans and there’s a dynamic here that there are expensive homes here and others. The millennials and many of the folks that are looking at downsizing, retiring needs a place to live. Building, affordable housing and communities by design, by construct is a way to do that. Now this isn’t new other cities have done it. People are evolving it and you can look around the country and get best practices. But it takes will. It takes, this is important to us, so that in different community that have that dynamic historically, we can’t change the past. The next housing we build, they’re building townhouses across the street next to the town center. Those houses could be different. They could be a half million dollar town home. They could be more affordable townhomes, which would change the demographic that’s there that now are the only ones that are working in grocery stores. And so people could afford.
Rico: [00:46:00] Okay so.
Michael: [00:46:01] Can I jump in?
Rico: [00:46:02] Karl, I’m sorry, just to add one more, one more thing to that. Those townhouses are on inexpensive property. They’re going to be whatever the market value is there. You’re right. Unless it’s rezoned and you force a subsidy, there are ways to do that. I used to be on the planning commission too so I understand that. There’s 165 apartments that supposed to be built right on, right next to town center. You know that, right? So that’s affordable housing for sure to a degree. Now I wish they were condos and not apartments because that’s where at least it’s ownership, right? And reasonably priced condos, not like a ridiculous price. Those I can see, and they should have been something, that could have been a great way to do that. But it’s not.
Karl: [00:46:45] So Michael, you’ve got perspective here being here for awhile, please, please share.
Michael: [00:46:57] I’m very concerned about what’s happening in Peachtree Corners and like, Karl, I think one of the things you said when you reached out to me was that not a whole lot is being said here and, by the city leadership. And I’m going to get around to the housing and school thing. I got a slightly long story here. My, what, what struck me in the last few weeks is that, you know, frequently people after shootings and things say, you know, there’s lots of thoughts and prayers and stuff, but we’ve actually gone through a period of time where we’ve not even had that where our mayor said, it’s better not to say anything. And it’s better just to listen. If you want to be our mayor, you ought to speak up and say something. You ought to be talking to the people who are feeling oppressed. You ought to be educating yourself on why people are out on the streets protesting. That it’s not okay to just sit back and go, I’m a white guy, I’m not afraid of the police, I don’t know what you’re feeling. The, the opt, I got a slightly
different thing out of the police presentation at city council. I love those, review of it, but what I got out of it is okay, so, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? You bring in the police to talk about why they’re already doing things correctly? When a lot of us don’t, you know, have a lot of concerns and questions about how are things being done, but what does our city council do? Bring the police in to talk about, don’t worry, we’re already doing it okay. And then you follow that up with a presentation on why the South side of the city, where the minorities live, where the poor communities are, why they’re blighted and why we have to dissolve them so we can tax them because they’re blighted. We’re not going to tax the whole city. We’re not going to tax the white parts of the city. We’re not going to tax the wealthy parts of the city. We’re going to tax the blighted parts of the community through redevelopment zones. I don’t think that was good, wait, Rico, let me talk. I don’t think that was good optics for the meeting that their first public meeting, after all this hits is to have the police come in and to say, we’re doing it okay. And then to follow it up immediately with the presentation on the blighted south side? Give me a break. That ain’t right. To get around to Simpson and what’s going on on the North side, I happen to be living in that zone. I, as I mentioned, my job moved up here, I moved out here. I bought a house here, so I could have a really short commute, literally on a bad day to work I see 6 cars. That’s how short my commute was. I frequently saw more deer than cars on the way to work. And what struck me and disturbed me after I moved here was the fact that my neighbors were proud that nobody in apartments went to the same school that my son went to. They were proud that it was mostly white. They wanted to keep it white. They wanted to keep the townhomes and the apartments out of the area. When you go out to the forum to the new town center, why did the city buy that land? To keep apartments out of the Simpson elementary school. They could have bought, built their town center somewhere else. They build it across from the forum to protect the home values of the people who send their kids to Simpson elementary. Okay, that’s my rant.
Rico: [00:50:56] Alright. Can I, can I, do you mind? One is I ended the, just to clarify the facts, Michael, the CID or the tax Haven part, the taxing part, it’s a self taxing district to the businesses that are in the district that want to spend their money there.
Michael: [00:51:16] I’m not talking about the CID.
Rico: [00:51:19] Then what are you talking about? That’s the overlay that they were talking about. I think, if I remember correct.
Michael: [00:51:24] I’ve gone to some of the evening planning meetings and I’m not sure of all the exact details, but they are talking about creating redevelopment zones in blighted areas. That’s a completely separate issue than the CID.
Rico: [00:51:39] Right. But I believe it has, the component with self taxing district that they would allow them to be able to tax themselves, which is what, you know West Gwinnet or whatever, West village, whatever they do. But I, you know, there’s another facet of it. But the apartments across the way that was, that’s the town centers, I’ll tell you that there was a lawsuit at the very
beginning back when Charlie Roberts had that property. Way back when the people were saying, he actually said, actually the lawsuit was brought to say that they would try to block his rezoning there because of racism. So that goes back. I don’t know, 20 odd years ago or something.
Michael: [00:52:24] Rico, I understand you’re going over facts and a little history and maybe I mean slightly more nuanced interpretation, but I fundamentally believe that our city has structural racism in it. And what you are doing by talking about the facts in such a manner is to defend, possibly, that what I’m trying to point out is we have issues here that we need to deal with. And I thought that was the point of the conversation here.
Rico: [00:52:49] Yeah, that is. I’m not defending them what I’m trying to put out is facts. So I, at least, well, let’s deal with the facts. We want to deal with the facts of, of everything. So let’s deal with the facts though. That’s all I’m saying. There are 165 apartments that are going across there by the way, is my point. So they’re are apartments going there. There may not be the 300 apartments originally that was supposed to go. But when Charlie Roberts sold that to get there, to be able to put his 165, which by the way, he was zoned to do, he could have kept the property and done the 300 apartments there. He decided to sell part of it. That’s part of that issue by the way, just to keep things straight, but there will be apartments there that are about 160 units.
Karl: [00:53:34] I’m curious Rico though, as, if, if you stepped back from, from the particular actions that any city takes, bridges and town centers and apartments and more, the question is who are the stakeholders that are being impacted by those decisions? And we can, we can reasonably say there are people of all ethnicities, all socioeconomics and in a city the size of Peachtree Corners or any local city. But the people making the decisions, the people that are influencing those decisions, I’m just curious how diverse that is. Concerning, considering when a decision is made like that, are the voices being heard and being represented that could influence because if you bring in a different perspective, the same decision may be decided on. That, that’s not the question. The question is if only a few folks can make the decision and admittedly, whether the mayor or other people may have a particular point of view, that may differ from others, there’s a blind spot. So when you start talking about systemic community leadership, I’m curious, what, what is the role of community leaders, residents, in making sure that these big decisions that may impact the community that has systemic racism built into it, are they getting information? I think they are really smart people that run, that run the city and other places. My question is, are they getting the information they need to understand the impact of the decisions they’re making on various people. And if the answer is yes, if they’re getting counsel and guidance from all parts of Peachtree Corners, whatever side of Holcomb bridge, whatever school, the parents, if they’re getting that and you can’t just say, we asked for it and we didn’t get it. If folks are shut out from the system, at some point they stopped talking. But if you really want to pull those voices in, that’s part of what people can do. Stepping up, whether run for office, whether they’re get involved in, in local, in local matters or outreach on the other side. There, there, I remembered, a mentor of mine, he, he gave us a really interesting
challenge with leadership team. I, I worked for an organization that was in an industry that was mostly male dominated, aerospace. If you go and you look at any aerospace company, there’s going to be mostly men dominating in there. And I remembered, he challenged, everybody on his staff to improve the recruiting, onboarding development and promotion of women in the aerospace industry. And so we had a very specific task. We had to go out to organizations and build relationships so we can identify engineering talents and management talents, sales talents, and find ways to bring them in. That was literally on our goals. We got paid and compensated based on how we perform them in particular way. Now, I didn’t argue with it. If he said, that’s what you had to go do, but was it the right thing to do? He was thinking of something larger then just making a particular number, but here’s the funny thing. And I measured it. When we hired women in sales and in aerospace, they often outperform men. Who knew? You wouldn’t know that, but he had an insight. He challenged us to change. He challenged us to bring, make us uncomfortable and bring other people to the conversation. So in community leadership, it’s going to be uncomfortable for folks to start to engage in real ways, challenge themselves to get different voices. But if you’re a person that doesn’t feel you understand someone else, someone else’s culture, somebody else’s experience in life, and you have a title, self appointed or, or not. A leader or member of the community. The challenge to you is what are you going to do to change that? And that’s, I think, you know, the optics of, of, of a particular meeting. If you, one resident saw the meeting in that way. The question is, did others? And it happened, but do you learn from it or do we show up at a meeting two months from now and it’s the same thing? There’s no learning that happens. I don’t know the answer to that, but I think this is a time where folks are really starting to examine their biases and their blind spots. And I’m just curious to see, you know, does this continue beyond this moment in time? And it leads to action and change. That’s what’s going to be interesting to see. So I’m curious on, what, what advice would you give to folks and just taken from your perspective, people can do to get, more active, aware and involved whether individual or community leader. And Michael, I know you’ve been organizing some, some protests and activities, but, maybe you could share some of the things that, that people can get involved with locally.
Michael: [00:59:07] So we started, I mentioned I started going to protests, and I’ve actually avoided the big ones in the city. I’ve been more focused on local. I know it’s an old phrase, but all politics is local. So I’ve gone to the two Peachtree Corners ones that were organized by our youth. Great events. And, I’ve been, after chatting with some friends and deciding that we could go out and do this, decided to, just go out along Peachtree Parkway periodically in support of black lives matter and have been, slowly growing that event. We had our biggest turnout this morning. We’ve decided to do weeklies from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM down just North of Holcomb bridge. And I’m hoping more people will turn out. We, we have a revolving group of people and in order to do a weekly, that’s what we need. So if you can come, great. Part of it is to show our support of black lives matter and show support for people who are coming and protesting with us and the people driving by. We’ve had people, you know, pull over, get out of the car and scream I love you to us, and get back in the car and take off. And we, we it’s been, it’s clearly affirmative to the people who are driving by. And I know that’s not gonna create the structural change that we need and necessarily deal with the structural racism here in Peachtree Corners.
But I think it’s important that we get our voice out there and we let people know that there are people, other people in the community who, support black lives matter and support creating change in the community. And another side thing that I’ve seen, that’s a huge benefit from this is that I believe that there’s a bunch of us who are in our own little grassroots gardens. Like there’s a group of us up here in North Peachtree Corners who are organizing around HD95 and helping to get, some political, we’re supposed to be nonpartisan here, so I’ll just say political candidates, elected or reelected. And, you know, we’re trying to organize. And one of the things we’re very clear is our garden is too small. We’re in a bubble. You know, Mo referenced bubbles, and the bubbles in the different part of the city need to connect for the garden, I’ve been using the garden analogy. We need to connect our gardens, and reach out so that we can become more effective. And, I don’t know what the ask is, but I believe that out of giving that we need to come to, we can coalesce and come up with some specific actions that we want to ask the city to do. And this isn’t just about standing on the street. This is about affirming people, gathering voices, gathering more voices, starting to work together, trying to create some change.
Karl: [01:02:01] Thank you. Mo, I’m curious to get your thoughts.
Mo: [01:02:09] On how to move forward and make the world a better place?
Karl: [01:02:14] If you got that one, I’d think you’d be quite wealthy. But we could start with what little small, innocent folks that live in their homes and in their communities can do.
Mo: [01:02:28] Well, I hope people in our community watch these conversations that you guys have been hosting. And then continue having the conversations. Recognize that there’s an issue and choose to take action. I think part of the reason why things have been the way they have for so long is because of the people that benefit from the system. So, you know, we’ve talked about why certain people have not agreed to come on the show and it’s either, if you support black lives or equity in education or any of these things say that. And if you don’t support it, say that, or I’ll be left to assume that your silence leans in that direction. So I think that’s first and foremost, recognizing that there are some serious issues in Peachtree Corners with diversity, inequality, inequity, and it starts from Pre-K up. It starts from the way the lines are drawn for the zoning, for the school boards, it starts with the fact that, you know yes, we have a beautiful town center and yes, there’s new townhouses, but when the townhouses costs 400, 500, 600, $700,000, certain people are being kept out of the community. Yes. Apartment buildings are being built, but are they affordable apartments or are they luxury apartments that start at 1200, 1500 for a one bedroom. And so the people who are serving our community, that work at Sprouts that work at Wendy’s that work at Cool Runnings, the Jamaican restaurant that work at J Alexander, they work at all these places, but they can not live in our community, right? All of these things, people have to open their eyes become aware and then take action to change that. It starts at home. You have to talk to your kids about why there’s no black kids in their school. And do you want that to change? Do you want them to have a diverse group of kids that they’re playing with on the playground? What are the actionable steps there? When we return to the school and you start ignoring COVID and the protests go away, you can’t just close
your eyes and become blind to the situation that’s happening. So beyond that, I’m part of a couple mom groups in the neighborhood, and I know folks love to do book clubs. So there’s plenty of literature on the subject. I would encourage white people to do anti-racism work. There are books, you can get. Me a White Supremacy, White Fragility, you can look up, Rachel Cargill, the Great Unlearn, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Laila F. Sod. These are all people that you can Google. You can find them on social media. There’s tons of resources that go beyond us having this conversation. If you actually want to effect change within yourself first with your kids, with their school, and then out into the community.
Karl: [01:05:55] That’s really, really helpful to hear some of those, cause these things start individually, and people could build it and expand out from that. Rico, I’m curious if you’ve got any, any thoughts on, as you’ve heard this discussion, this is our third, our third one in this. And the purpose is to start the dialogue, but any takeaways and things that you think might really help folks as they go through their own journeys?
Rico: [01:06:25] Well, Mo, thank you for the list of reading. Number one that does help and some of those books are, are on my list as well, so to, to read. But you know, it’s a good way. And Michael, I didn’t mean to get on you, but it’s good to have this tough conversation, right? And it’s good to point out different things in it. And Karl and I had at one point said, why don’t we just get, you know, maybe you get, get three white people on to just talk about from their perspective that they used to think, and maybe that they changed their minds and their thinking different, you know, it’s hard to change people’s minds. I think, you know, And there’s different things that you can affect. I think. You know, listen, the Simpson elementary school being majority white, again, I think that’s just, you know, I don’t want to re-go through that, but some things are the way they are, because that’s the lines and stuff. That’s not necessarily, that school’s been there for so long that this Peachtree Corners has grown out and it’s, can’t even accommodate the kids at one point that it could accommodate. So from within this circle, if you want to call it a bubble of a Pinckneyville middle is right down the block and it’s majority minority. And yes, it feeds from three different elementary schools. The biggest thing, you know, and that’s just to set the playing field, but the biggest thing is involvement, right. But involvement has to come like Joe Sawyer when he ran for city council, involvement has to come to go to the planning commission. To you know, if you’re going to talk about, you know, rezoning and how do you affect lower-income rezoning? I’ve talked about that when we you know, when I was on the planning commission, how do we do that? Of course Gwinnett County at the time would tell me we can’t do those things, it would be illegal, we get lawsuits, we’d have to protect it. It’s like, I don’t see it. I just, I don’t see putting multi-units like 13, like apartments next to homes. Doesn’t work that way. You know, it just doesn’t. But if we’re all involved, if we all have a voice at the table and it’s hard when maybe two people work in a family and maybe they’re doing two jobs, three jobs and they can’t get there, we have to make it easier for them at least to participate. See the stuff online, be able to communicate online. We’re doing all our telework and online, there’s no reason in the world why we can’t communicate online to our representative. And if they’re not being responsive, throw them out. I mean, that’s, that’s politics. That’s the way this works. That’s the way it’s always worked. If we’re not, if we want to make the change, we need
to do it from the inside out. Unless you want a revolution that takes down a government, that’s a whole different story and I don’t want to go there. But the best way to do it and the way that people will accept it better is from inside out to do that work. And it has worked, but you know what? There are people that just don’t want to do that work. It’s easier to just talk about it. If you’re going to be there, you need to do the work, get your representatives and go to those meetings. I mean, really, it doesn’t take a lot of votes to put a city council person in or a state Senator or a house seat. Now, president, you know, can’t talk about that. But, and I don’t understand how 3 million people can vote for one person. Not that I was for her, but vote for the one that’s in their house now. I just don’t know how that goes, but you have to be involved and I don’t want to keep going on, but that’s, to me that’s a…
Karl: [01:10:13] Alright, I’ll wrap up by saying, first, thank you all for coming out. Let’s have this conversation. We would normally be doing this together. We’d be doing it while breaking bread and having coffee or drinks and talk. And we can’t do that now. But I think it was still important that we have this conversation and that more of these happen. My only tips to folks would be, fundamentally falls around three things. One, this weekend I hear that Hamilton will be streaming on Disney plus, so if you want to talk about getting involved, doing more with, with the talents that you have, take a watch at Hamilton. And you don’t have to do all the things he did, but you could do what you can in your own community and in your own house. The second thing, I would say for those folks that, you know, feel that there’s an injustice that they’re starting to realize, and they know something about it doesn’t feel right, and they want to do something. It’s really simple. If you want to tell people that you support social justice, more than words, where you put your time and where you put your resource, money tells people what’s important to you. So, whether it’s protesting, whether it’s supporting schools, whether it’s supporting things in the community. Think about where you spend your time, where you put your resources, if you want to help drive more, equity in the community you live, you live in. And the last thing I’d say for folks to think about, reach out. And if you haven’t talked to someone that’s different from you, it’s a great time to start doing that. Learn to understand different perspectives. And for those that are uncomfortable with it yet, that’s okay too. This may not be your time and moment, but I’ll tell you something, your kids are changing. And they’re going to follow. The millennials and the generation to follow are going to force us to change it regardless. So it’s a question when you want to jump on the bus, but I do think that that the next generation is going to dictate how and what this society is like. So thank you Mo. Thank you, Michael and Rico again for allowing us to have these conversations.I appreciate you for creating this platform to do that. Take care everybody have a good day and tune in to Peachtree Corners Life podcast. It’s streamed, this’ll be on Facebook live along with the other conversations. And, you know, start having your own. Thank you everyone.
American Rescue Plan, LPR Cameras and More on Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager
It’s a brand new month and that means more exciting news about the city. In this episode of Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, Brian and Rico discuss the American Rescue Plan Act, success stories of the LPR Cameras, exciting developments, and much more.
“We have a lot more flexibility this time than CARES Act. But there’s also greater need than we’ll have the money for… Mayor and council are going to be carefully considering the options and what percentage goes to all of it. But suffice it to say this money is going to be put back into those in the greatest need within the Peachtree Corners community.”Brian Johnson
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:14] – LPR Cameras
[00:08:05] – Details about the American Rescue Plan Act
[00:18:49] – MUD Amendment
[00:28:14] – Multi-use Development
[00:33:06] – Closing
Rico: [00:00:30] Hi, this is Rico Figliolini host of Peachtree Corners Life. And here now with Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, Brian Johnson, who I’ll be bringing on shortly. We’re going to be discussing a few different issues, including multi-use development ordinances and things that are happening in the city. And I hope you stay with us. If you have any comments, certainly put it into the comment section. If you have any questions, we’ll get back to you with answers, hopefully. Bring it on to the next show as well. This episode is being sponsored by Peachtree Corners Magazine as we’re working on our next issue. So keep an eye on it. It’ll be out the first week of June. So let me introduce, and let me bring in well you’ve seen before, Brian Johnson, City Manager. Hey, Brian, how are you?
Brian: [00:01:12] Good Rico. How are you?
Rico: [00:01:14] Good. It’s been a little while since we had the last one and certainly there’s things going on in the city. So exciting stuff. Why don’t we, you know get, well why did we start with I think one of the things that we’ve talked about before has been the LPR cameras. The license plate reader cameras that’ve been installed in the city. And why don’t you tell us what happened recently? I think that was brought up at city council meeting as well. Something good, obviously from that.
Brian: [00:01:40] Well, so the mayor and city council was referencing a report that was published through by flock. And it was in reference to the license plate reader cameras, the automated license plate reader cameras that we installed for use by Gwinnett PD. And so we installed 25 of them throughout the city in locations that Gwinnette PD identified as locations that could provide them opportunities for, you know, use in, you know, the prosecution and, well investigation and prosecution of crime. So those were installed and they’ve been up for a number of months and we got a report back on how it was used and why the mayor brought it up to city council meeting is because he wanted everybody to kind of know that they were being put to very good use. That there were a number of instances in which a vehicle pass through one of the cameras, the camera read the license plate. The license plate had been on what’s called a BOLO list, a be-on-the-lookout list by Gwinnett PD for a specific reason. There were issues like an individual registered to the vehicle is wanted for assault and battery somewhere or grand theft auto, car was reported stolen. Things like that. And in one case, we actually had, in fact, two cases, really. We have had instances, unfortunate instances, where we’ve had a discharge of a firearm within the city. One, thankfully involved, two individuals who were near the forum, in the forum area who had gotten inebriated and decided to pull out their firearms in the parking lot and shoot them in the air in celebration of something. Anyway, it was gunfire in the air, but it was still gunfire. And they got in their car and Gwinnett PD, when there was a report of gunfire, looked at the camera and saw the vehicle that had been identified as to what the shooters had gotten into and were able to follow the car and ultimately apprehend the individuals who were firing their guns. That was helpful. And then we also had an unfortunate incident two weeks ago, I guess, two to three weeks ago in which there was a homicide at a gas station in South Peachtree corners. And the shooter was identified through our LPR cameras. Because again, an eye witness put the shooter in a type of automobile, and then they used the, you know, the network of cameras that were installed to ultimately trace where the car left and they use cameras that they have access to even outside Peachtree Corners. And we’re able to ultimately find out where the car went to. And then we’re able to go to location and find out through the use of that automobile, who the individual was. I don’t know, since then, I haven’t actually had a conversation to know if they found him. But they actually, because of that camera were able to put his mugshot, because he had a record out, as a BOLO. And so, you know, he is wanted for murder and it was through the help of these LPR cameras. So they are being used again, the city doesn’t have access to the cameras. They’re being used by Gwinnett PD for these purposes, but it is being put to use, and it is taking criminals off the street and it is helping solve crime. Because they have access to these cameras. So it was a great thing for the city who doesn’t run a police department directly within our city government. We have a governmental agreement for Gwinnett County, but it was a great way for us to provide them an additional crime fighting resource and provide it at their disposal. So that’s why it was brought up. And that’s what the program’s about.
Rico: [00:06:01] Interesting. The, you know, the fact that cameras more and more today, whether it’s a Ring camera on your door or a camera like this, it’s just providing that much more security. The ability at least to follow up crimes, to find the perpetrators of these things. And it just makes, you know, some people will feel safer. I certainly would feel safer that way. Some people might not feel, they feel like they’re being intruded upon. But you know it’s interesting, the same people may want more police on the street. But this is exactly what that is, right? It’s allowing police to be able to do the job more effectively in a broader range. Of course, I don’t know, you know, somebody may not want that, may not feel it’s necessary. But I certainly feel in a city this size that that’s certainly worth it.
Brian: [00:06:50] You know, so I certainly, and the city mayor council certainly, appreciate the concerns about invasion of privacy and all of that. It’s important to note that these cameras are only on public thoroughfares. They’re only used in you know, the prosecution of current crime. And it also is interesting that for the total amount that it costs to operate 25 cameras at 25 different locations in the city is still less money than it would be if we put one additional police officer on the street.
Rico: [00:07:30] Wow.
Brian: [00:07:31] And so, not to say that you don’t have to have both, you absolutely do. But when you are trying to stretch money or provide the biggest bang for the buck, you know, the most bang for the buck. It’s a pretty good resource to be able to deploy that many eyeballs. You know, obviously it can’t do anything. You still need boots on the ground to make the arrest and do the other stuff, but it is certainly a force multiplier for departments you know. And we feel good about being able to provide them this additional resources.
Rico: [00:08:05] Yeah. I’m glad the city is doing it. And you’re right. I mean, it does provide a bigger bang for the buck if you will for safety’s sake. So also, you know, the city has been doing in other areas like we did, like the city did last year, getting onto a different subject about business grants through federal rescue plan. The CARES Act. And providing businesses with the ability to continue their business. Large and small, through a variety of grants. Same thing’s happening this year, right? Through the American Rescue Plan now. The first half of this year grants will be given out. And then I guess the second half of the year, some additional monies will be given out. So can you talk a little bit about that? About the type of businesses that would qualify for this, the monies that would be there, and what would qualify business to be able to receive that?
Brian: [00:08:54] So, the American Rescue Plan Act, like you said, it is a second attempt by the federal government to inject, you know, resources into the economy. To help those who have been affected by COVID. And either help them, you know, keep propping them up for them to live to fight another day and make it through this or help them recover from it, whatever. So we are going to be getting about $9 million over the course of the next 12 months. Half within about the next 30, 45 days. And then the second half a year from when we get the first check.
Rico: [00:09:39] Gotcha.
Brian: [00:09:40] And the money is in fact to go towards certain things. Now, this one, versus the CARES Act has got a lot more guidance and a lot more, in fact I have right here. The CARES Act was basically like, look, if you could show that you were you know, harmed financially due to the pandemic that CARES Act money could go to help with that. So you could show that you lost revenue or you had COVID related expenses. That was basically all the guidance we were given. This time it’s a little bit more specific. The eligible use of funds falls under basically four categories. One is investment in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. One is for provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue. In other words, the city or counties could use this to plug holes in revenue streams that are decreased due to COVID. Three, it would be responding to workers performing essential work during COVID. And this would be essentially to pay, cities pay themselves back for extra time that police or fire were out there or for hazard pay or those kinds of things. And then the last one is for assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, or to aid in impacted industries, such as tourism, travel and hospitality. And that’ll be the main one that we’re going to end up having you know, that eligible use will be the main one we’re using. And so we’re looking at breaking the money up into a few different categories, if you will. We do think that there will be a component of it that will go to companies directly that were impacted to help their bottom line, to help keep them afloat. Similar to the CARES Act. We do think that there will be some going to nonprofits that are specifically providing service to Peachtree Corners residents. You know, and those nonprofits, their mission would be to provide some sort of assistance to groups that were affected. So we didn’t do non-profits last time, we did it directly to businesses. We will definitely have a non-profit component this time. We are probably looking at some sort of a capital improvement component. And by that, I mean, there may be some money eligible for businesses that are seeing, that have property maintenance needs that they’ve been unable to address because of either they didn’t have enough money during COVID or they had to spend more money because of COVID and they don’t have to do it. And the reason that’s there is because we may have businesses that go, that, you know, fold or leave. But the structures that these businesses occupying the city will rot. So we are worried about there being some, you know, derelict buildings and structures that are left behind by businesses leaving. So we want to make sure, in some cases it would be us giving money to a business, but we say here’s money for you, but you can’t just use it wherever you want. You have to use it on your building or on your property.
Rico: [00:13:15] So would that be something like, you know, and maybe this is not, but like that Burger King building on Spalding and Holcomb Bridge. Burger King closed down that building, it’s been abandoned essentially for a while now. Obviously an eyesore and could be dangerous as well. You know, does money go towards maintenance or also towards raising a building? You know, bringing it down or something.
Brian: [00:13:38] It could probably ultimately go to both. Now, the city won’t end up using it to demo it itself, but we could give it to an owner of said, structure and say, hey, if you’re looking to redevelopment and you couldn’t quite get over the hump because of COVID, let’s help you do something productive with that building or let’s help you bring it back up into code compliance. Or let’s have, we’ll let you use the money for some facade improvements because the facade needs, you know, a facelift. That would be some aspect. Again, the percentages are still yet to be determined. That’s going to probably be the biggest thing is what percentage of this pot of money do we do to each of these categories? Because you can do a lot in one and, you know, and end up creating a problem or the need is greater than another you didn’t do it in. And so those are some of the things we’re doing. Now, you know, we’re even looking into maybe helping those who could be behind on certain utilities. They were unable to pay certain utilities and we can centrally pay like a Georgia power, or a Gwinnett County department of water resources, you know, for delinquent utilities. For those who wash their jobs or whatever. We’re exploring that. You know, and certainly the hotel and restaurant business are ones that we’re looking specifically at. Because you know, there was a time and even with hotels that you know, or I guess restaurants that, you know, they’re still not back to normal.
Rico: [00:15:16] Right. Well, and some of them are doing improvements. Like I know that I saw Fire and Stone Pizzeria just added a canopy on top of their outdoor patio.
Brian: [00:15:27] And we work with them to increase the area outside so that he could have more seating out there because people are a little bit more apt to eat right now in places that they can eat outside. And so restaurants are needing to do that. And so, yes. I mean, so there’s a lot of need. We have a lot more flexibility this time than CARES Act. But there’s also greater need than we’ll have the money for. So we’re, you know, mayor and council are going to be carefully considering the options and what percentage goes to all of it. But suffice it to say this money is going to be put back into those in the greatest need within the Peachtree Corners community.
Rico: [00:16:11] Is there going to be sort of a public hearing or something to gather input from people that might want to suggest where the money gets put? Or is there a component of something like this or how is this drawn up? Because then people will have to apply for it, right?
Brian: [00:16:27] Right. Now there will be an application process. Once mayor council decide how it’s going to go, then we will then take it and create all of the background and the notification about what is coming. I will tell you when the announcement of the rescue plan act came out. Since that point, I have had a steady stream of recommendations since then. So I’m not voiding community input. And I know mayor and council are in the same boat. But, you know, I gave you the eligible use of funds and it has to meet that for us to spend it. So while we have a few more types of uses than CARES Act did, we are still heavily regulated on how it’s done. And we will always err on the side of caution. And we do not want to be like some of the other horror stories that you hear out there of communities that have, you know, misused this stuff and now they’re in trouble. And you know, we’re not going to do that and we didn’t do it the first time. So we’ll be very careful of how we spend it.
Rico: [00:17:29] So the deadline at some point will be over the next 30 to 45 days, I guess, if someone. I mean, officially you’ll put out, the city will put out the application and the deadline date, I guess, that people can…
Brian: [00:17:40] Yeah, so let’s just say within the next 45 days, we should be receiving the first half at that point. And then a year from that point, we’ll get the second half. But regardless of when we get the money we have through the end of 2024 to spend it all. So we have a good time. Now I will tell you this, mayor and council are intent on spending the money the right way for the right use, but doing so as soon as we can spend it. Because they feel like the economy and people hurt by the pandemic are at their greatest risk right now. As more things open up and the pandemic, you know, hopefully goes away and we return back to whatever the normal looks like on the backside, but that people will be stronger everyday going forward into the future. So, we’re trying to put it into the local economy and help people as soon as we can. Because they’re at their greatest. You know, there’s a greater need today than there will be tomorrow. And then the next day and the next day.
Rico: [00:18:49] That makes sense. I mean, holding it for two or three years, doesn’t make sense. Yeah. And I can understand why they have that, I guess. But I also see why you’d want to put it out there sooner than later. Be more effective that way. Let’s get on to a couple of well actually let’s, I’m going to, I’ve been going through the city council agenda for those that are not aware that recently was held and stuff. So I’m going to be a bit out of order. There’s a first reading consideration of something that I’ve found interesting that before we started the show that I wanted to ask about. And this has to deal with like also COVID, it has to deal with the way life is changing, the way people are working, living and traffic and all that. So I know the city wants to get ahead of something like this, and this has to do with the apartment hotel and amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow apartment hotel, special use. And we were talking about that because on the face of it, I didn’t understand what that meant, but now I understand. It’s like, if you’re going to build apartments, you do it from scratch. Or do you find a hotel that has no occupancy or 20% occupancy, and maybe that chain needs to get rid of that less producing hotel. And now what do you do with it? So, you know, we were discussing how it’s cheaper obviously to take an existing building and repurpose it. That was one of the reasons. That the Peachtree Parkway multi-use development is repurposing the office building that’s there, right? Because it’s rather than taking it down and rebuilding a new one, you can just take what’s there and reuse it maybe. Same thing with hotels. So explain again to our listeners. What this amendment to the MUD means to the zoning ordinance, actually about hotels being converted if the opportunity arises.
Brian: [00:20:32] So what we’re seeing nationally and even in Peachtree Corners is the pandemic has really, you know, affected a lot of industries more than others. The hotel industry being one that’s been, you know, significantly impacted. And so there are hotel owners that are sitting on properties that just cannot make it anymore. And so some of these hotel owners are looking at what can I do with my property? I had this hotel that it was doing just fine. But now for, you know, pandemic reasons, it’s not. I don’t see it improving. People aren’t going to travel as much business travel is certainly not going to be the same. So they have started out of sheer desperation if you will, to explore what could they do with the property. And one of the things that they’re doing is exploring the possibility of converting a hotel into an apartment building. And so we have had at least one instance in which the owner kind of an exploratory way, said hey does the city have any regulation on its books for a conversion? So it got us thinking that, look, if this is going to happen here, like we’re seeing elsewhere we probably should do some things to at least try to keep it from getting out of hand, one. And then two, we are, mayor and council is I’d like to think that we won’t, but my fear is we’re going to be faced with a decision or two regarding this issue. And you’re going to have a hotel that probably has lost its corporate flag. You know, it’s no longer a Marriott property or a Hilton property or something like that. And now it’s just you know, a random hotel. And when that happens, and that means immediately the room rates are going to go down. You’re not going to be able to attract the same type of traveler. And desperate people do desperate things. And what we don’t want to do is to see hotels, transition like that, and then become locations for long-term stay. For people who are transient. You run into squatters, you run into sometimes crime. I mean, it’s just, it’s a broken window theory of things and you don’t want to go down that road. But then conversely, you’re always like, ah, you know, some cases hotels may not be in the best location for what you would think is a good location for apartments. And so it’s going to be a difficult one, but we are prepared for it to happen. And so what you’re referring is an ordinance that will set some regulations. That if somebody is wanting to do it, there’s the, you know, the baseline for what a conversion would look like if council approves it.
Rico: [00:23:36] So essentially, I mean, if I could extrapolate it, even now, because I was, as you were saying, it was thinking extended stay hotels. And hotels that I don’t know, you know, most people understand that sometimes hotels are not owned by the hotel chain. They could be franchises of a hotel chain. So they do lose their flags sometimes because for a variety of reasons, maybe. But they have to do something. And occupancy rates have been dropping and dropping. And even though they seem to be coming back, you know, people, I have friends that are traveling more. I see this. Cruise ships are going out a little bit more now. Hotels are filling up a little bit. But usually in the resort areas, right. Where, you know, a lot of our hotels were for business travelers coming into Technology Park and all that. So that’s changed a bit, right? So I can see this coming where someone may say, I have this 40 year old hotel, or 30 year old extended stay hotel. And I think we can make this into apartments because we already have extended stay guests. Why not just make it apartments? But I would imagine, I haven’t looked at the ordinance, but I would imagine there are special use approvals that are necessary and certain amounts of improvements have to be made. You can’t just be all of a sudden put a hotel when, I mean an apartment.
Brian: [00:24:54] Yeah, that’s a good point Rico. This is a transition process and it comes with a lot of prerequisites if it were to happen and it is a special use. So they’re going, it’s not an automatic conversion. It’s not a conversion by right. So council’s got to issue a special use permit for it to happen. But what we wanted to do is be prepared for if that ask comes, we wanted to be prepared to actually kind of have had a chance to think about, okay, what would we want to see if council were inclined to say yes in lieu of the alternative. And you know, again, there’s some, you know, horror stories about hotels that the owner either doesn’t care or can’t afford to do anything. And it’s just allowed, they just keep dropping the rates until they can fill the rooms. And they’re filling it with people who, you know, you don’t necessarily want in that housing.
Rico: [00:25:55] Sure, and it happens. I mean, crime unfortunately comes with that and we’ve seen it already in several hotels in the Norcross, Peachtree Corners area. So where there’s been a shooting or a death because of things like that, whether it was in the parking lot or whatever was being done. Are there specific things that you’d like to see if a hotel came to you with that aspect? Or are there a couple of top things that they have to do to even be considered for that type of conversion?
Brian: [00:26:24] I mean, conceptually speaking, I mean, I think the city is going to want to have these things to be self-contained. Meaning, you know, you’ve got a secure grounds, one in Egress point, you know, you want to keep it similar to that. You’re going to want amenities and make sure that the units are you know, occupied by, you know, people that we would like to see in apartments. There’s going to be a requirement. There are still, you know, pool, you know, and work out facility aspects to it. You know, you can’t just do away with that. There’s minimum square footage of units so that they’re not micro units.
Rico: [00:27:04] Right. Kitchen, and stuff.
Brian: [00:27:07] Right. So those are kind of some of the things. It’s got to be a real apartment. I mean, it is a real, it’s not this efficiency. It’s not, you know, where it’s gotta be a real conversion. But, you know, I think the one good thing, I guess on these conversions is, you know, the amount of rooms that you can get out of a hotel is like a quarter. You can get about a quarter or less apartment units out of the number of hotel rooms, just because hotel rooms are small. They’re not, you know, hotels, you know, usually these conversions involve multiple rooms being gutted to a degree and then combined into one apartment unit. You try to work around, maybe saving some of the plumbing where the kitchen would go. Keeping one of the bathroom locations, trying to work around that. But you know, they have the hallways. And the doors to the units, which are what an interior entry apartment would look like. And so those are kind of the conversions that we, you know, the conceptual things that we would like to see for conversion to even be considered.
Rico: [00:28:14] Okay, alright. There’s been other developments as far as the approval for multi-use, 9.2 acres. We reported on this before. I think it was mentioned also well on our website when that was approved this past city council meeting. So what’s the, you know, that’s an exciting thing, I think. Because we’re talking about a lot of units there. We’re talking about the multi-use first real type multi-use in the city, right? Development to a degree. When do you think that’ll, you know, what’s the timeline that they’ve expressed to the city that they may be doing this in?
Brian: [00:28:48] I mean, I think that they’re going to potentially start work of some sort within the next three to six months. Now, you know, what they’ve got to do is take the conceptual plan and then create construction documents out of that. And so there is a period of time that we all have to you know, remember. Upon council approval of these projects, the developer can only go so far until they have approval by council. Because it doesn’t make sense to go into the weeds of designing all the way down to construction documents, bid ready, if the risk that council could say no is still there. So companies only go so far. And so you’re going to see I think, you know, as that’s going on, you’ll potentially see some demolition of some of the single story office, condo complex. That’s all being demoed. And I don’t know the answer to this, but I know that there’s like at least one, maybe two leases that still need to run a little bit before the current occupant is relocating elsewhere. So there’s some more, but I think, you know, they’re going to want to do this as fast as they can. And so I think you may see selective demolition start before too long. I definitely know that they are knee deep in the architect’s transitioning into construction documents. And when they’re ready to go, they’re going to blow and go quick. I mean, these kind of things, they have construction loans and every day that they’re holding the money that they can’t turn around and start generating income off of selling townhomes or renting apartments is money that they’re losing.
Rico: [00:30:30] For sure. And I think with Janet Yellen and some of these other economists talking about an economy that might heat up a little bit where interest rates may start rising in a year or two. I get, I imagine that people will be looking to secure those loans sooner than later, because I can’t imagine getting it any cheaper than it is now, right? So cool. Well, I think we’ve covered most of what I wanted to get onto. You haven’t, have you heard anything more about the other apartment? That’s been approved, obviously at town center. Nothing more there, I guess? Or the original planned Indigo hotel, which doubtful that that’ll happen at this point. But anything going on there that you can share?
Brian: [00:31:12] No, there are some, there is some movement within the ownership group of that parcel that they may, there’s indications that they may be starting to, you know, compile all the information they need to get back in front of council. So I would not be surprised at that sometime over the summer it is there in front of the council. And you know, again, remember too council did deny the application for townhome community on Jaybird. That was at council meeting too. So, you know, council and planning commission, you know, together that went through a process and then the community was involved in letting both groups know how they thought. And ultimately, you know, city council was like, look, we don’t think that’s the right type of use for that area, too dense. It’s got a lot of, you know challenges to it and we hear the community and so they denied it. So, you know, all these cases, you and I tend to talk about them either, well, we talk about them a lot of times in conceptual you know fashion. Meaning it’s not been in front of council or it is done and what is it going to look like? But in the meantime, there’s a lot of details behind the scenes that are considered and debated. And council’s doing a lot of sausage-making when it comes to trying to get smart on these kinds of things and they take them each one very seriously. And sometimes they get approved pretty easily. Sometimes counsel through me, work very hard, trying to amend and adjust the original product from the day it hits the city to the day they’re voting on it. So it’s much different. Sometimes they just flat out deny it. And this is an example where they ultimately just denied it.
Rico: [00:33:06] Yeah. And you know, I know that the planning commission, and I know you guys spend a lot of time and effort in going through this and working with developers to make sure they understand what’s allowed, what’s not allowed. I know that particular piece of property was up against low density housing also, and didn’t make sense. But just because something on the face of it doesn’t look like it makes sense to do. It doesn’t mean that’s an easy, no, right? Because legally you have to also look at the right of use of a property and all that. So I’m glad that, you know, you guys are doing a great job. There’s very little that I’ve seen, ever seen that you all don’t do with what I feel that, you know, what I personally feel you guys need to be doing on it. And you know city council, but I, you know, I understand some people may think that’s an easy job and it’s a part-time job. And by the way, it doesn’t pay much. But city council people, as opposed to planning department people, or city government people that that’s a career job, right? You get paid good, you know, good money for doing a tough job. And city council people have to spend 20 hours, 30 hours a week sometimes in their job just to make sure they’re doing the right thing for the citizens. So that’s not an easy job either. So I’m glad that they have a good team behind them in city government being able to like come up with good answers, at least that they can, that they can work from.
Brian: [00:34:25] We try.
Rico: [00:34:26] Yeah, I’m glad that’s happening. So, and the city is doing well. So I don’t foresee, you know, I don’t see any, too many problems. I don’t see any problems out there really, quite frankly. So glad you all are doing a good job. Glad that you give us the time every month to be able to ask you questions and to get good solid answers and information from. Brian, I appreciate the work you do for us. So thank you everyone.
Brian: [00:34:51] Thanks Rico. Thanks for this opportunity and everything you’re doing to help, you know, disseminate information.
Rico: [00:34:58] Thank you, Brian. Take care. And everyone else, stay tuned for other episodes of Peachtree Corners Life and this episode that we do every month of this podcast. If you have questions, feel free to message me, email me. If you have story ideas, I’m all for that. I cover the city as well as we can. So if you have story ideas, suggestions, email me. It’s Editor@LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. Any suggestions. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll put everything on the website or in the magazine, but if you’re not providing those suggestions to me, I have no idea where to get some of these ideas from. Although we’re overflowing with them as well. Does that make sense? Reach out to me. Let me know what you think and let me know if you have any stories or ideas as well. Thank you.
A Conversation about Recent Anti-Asian Hate Crimes, with Long Tran
Long Tran, owner of Peachy Corners Cafe, and an advocate of the Asian community joins Rico Figliolini to discuss hate crimes against Asian Americans, what it means to be Asian in America, how businesses are affected, and where we go from here.
Peachy Corners Cafe Website: www.PeachyCornersCafe.com
AAJC Website: https://advancingjustice-aajc.org
CPACS Website: https://cpacs.org
“We really need to get to the root cause of why people feel like they need to blame specific subgroups. Whether it’s based on race, Black or Asian, Latino. Based on gender, you know, blame things on women or, you know, sexuality, the LGBTQ. You can’t outlaw that kind of bias. But you can come up with policies and programs that will help educate people and hopefully get them to cross that bias.”Long Tran
Timestamp (Where to find it in the podcast):
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:38] – About Long
[00:04:54] – Choosing to Speak Up
[00:07:07] – News of the Spa Shootings
[00:09:52] – The Broad Term of Asian-American
[00:11:21] – Addressing Ethnoburbs and White Flight
[00:19:11] – How Business is Effected
[00:21:17] – Race Related Bullying in Schools
[00:25:26] – Moving South
[00:29:13] – What Local Businesses and Citizens Can Do
[00:34:39] – Finding Hope
[00:36:43] – Closing
Rico: [00:00:30] Hi, this is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life in the City of Peachtree Corners. We have a special show today. I want to be able to talk about some of the things that are affecting recently, a lot of the communities that surround us and that are with us. But first, before we get to that, I just want to introduce our sponsor for not only this podcast, but our family of podcasts and that’s Hargray Fiber. They are a local Southern regional company that provides internet connectivity and business solutions to an array of businesses, whether you’re small or enterprise size. They’ve been working through the pandemic, providing coverage and internet connectivity to not only employees in the office environment, but also the home remote employee and making sure that that’s a seamless process. So check them out. They’ve been a great supporter of our podcast and our family of podcasts. So HargrayFiber.com or Hargray.com/Business. Now that we’ve talked about that, let me tell you a little bit about what we’re going to be talking about today. And I’m going to introduce our guest here. But today we’re going to be talking about and putting a spotlight on crimes against Asian-Americans. Vicious crimes, attacks, harassment crimes that have targeted a group. That in the Atlantic, recent Atlantic magazine article noted are simultaneously stereotyped as model minorities and perpetual foreigners. They’ve had a history in America, both working over the past hundred, 200 years providing growth in this country and been an important asset to this country. An important community member to this country. But hate incidents targeting Asian Americans have risen and in 2020 was over 150% before the previous period of time. And Asian-American women have been targeted twice as likely in these attacks according to recent data. So without further ado, let’s introduce Long Trek. Owner of Peachy Corners Cafe. Welcome Long. I appreciate you coming on the show with me.
Long: [00:02:34] Thanks, Rico. Honored to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Rico: [00:02:38] So I thought it was long overdue to get this discussion going. So, you know, one of the, I know you’re a Peachtree corners business owner with Peachy Corners Cafe, great new place that a lot of people are discovering and going to. But you live in Dunwoody also, and you’ve been involved recently as I’ve known through protests as well. So give us a bit of an introduction about yourself.
Long: [00:03:02] Sure. As you said, I’ve lived in Dunwoody, you know, next door to Peachtree Corners for about 10 years now. And I’m very involved in the city of Dunwoody. I lead a Cub scout pack and I’m currently serving on an economic recovery advisory council to the city of Dunwoody. And so we’re hoping to, you know, bring back some businesses and get some new business startups. So I’m really involved. But when the shooting happened in Atlanta you know, from customers to friends and family who called me, a lot of people were upset. And so I reached out to many of the Asian organizations that I support that have been advocating for the Asian community for decades now. And we all wanted to do something. And there were three nursing students who specifically, they wanted to take charge and lead the effort. And so they coordinated with me and we did something down at the state house that you know, by our estimates, probably 3,000 people showed up. It was something that’s never happened in Georgia to have that kind of protest coming from the Asian American community. It was very peaceful. We had all kinds of elected officials come out. Senator Allsopp and Senator Warnock came out. And you know, even Governor Kemp, came out against what happened, came out against the shooting. So to bring this awareness and get the media coverage and actually feel the emotion beyond our community, the Asian American community, and you know, see the support from the Jewish community. Who’ve gone through something like this with the synagogue shooting. Or the black community with the church shootings. And then of course the white community has reached out and expressed their shock and disbelief because of the model minority myth, you don’t realize the type of discrimination Asians go through.
Rico: [00:04:54] Yeah, I think part of it, like we discussed beforehand a few days ago is that particularly in the South. We’re both from the North, but particularly in the South, Asian americans tend to be more quiet, less wanting to make waves, be under the radar. You know, how is it that you found yourself speaking up? You know, why did you, why did you choose to do that?
Long: [00:05:19] So for me, I feel like I’ve been speaking up for quite a while now, like to go back to 1995. But I grew up with a slightly different perspective. In the early eighties, there was the war between South Vietnamese refugees and the KKK down in the Mississippi Delta, Biloxi. The white fishermen did not appreciate that there were Vietamese fishermen after the Vietnam war and they didn’t like the competition. And so they called it a war, broke out, down there where people were killed on both sides. And so living up North, we were always afraid, would that come up North? And so my dad would have discussions with his family and friends that were Vietnamese. Like, what are we going to do if the KKK comes for us? And so it’s always been there. And then Vincent Chin was the catalyst for the Asian American community when he was killed by two guys who thought he was Japanese. And this was during the anti-Japanese automaker sentiment in the eighties. And the judge said, well, these are two good guys and their lives shouldn’t be thrown away. So all they had to do was pay a $3,000 fine. And, you know, a $3,000 fine was all you needed to get away with murder. And so it started with me at a young age that this had to be addressed. And so when I got to college I became much more active in speaking up when things would happen especially to students who were getting bullied on campus or hazed differently from their other roommates or colleagues when they would rush for a fraternity. And so I’ve been speaking up for quite a while, but right now it seems like it’s, I’m given a stage to amplify the voice far more.
Rico: [00:07:07] When you know, how did you hear about the spa shootings? How did that make you feel when you, when you heard that?
Long: [00:07:15] So I woke up and it was, usually I don’t turn off my phone, but for whatever reason, that night I had turned off my phone. So I could just get a good night’s sleep. And I woke up, I turned on my phone and it just blew up with all kinds of text messages or Facebook messages, with people asked me if I knew about the shooting, what’s going on you know. And so I turned to the news and sure enough, that night there was the spa shootings. And I was angry because, you know, we’ve known this was coming for a while. Last summer in July, I believe it was July. There’s a Chinatown in Chamblee, Doraville and white supremacist protesters showed up armed with guns and they harassed business owners and their patrons. They didn’t stay very long and they got scared off as soon as the police were called, but it was a sign of intimidation. And even in my own city of Dunwoody, there were, on the exit and on-ramps of the freeway were these signs that says boycott China. You know, if you want to take it from a business perspective, you would put it at the Chinese embassy, or maybe at Walmart, someone who’s doing business with China. But you’re putting it in front of residential areas. You’re sending a message to the Chinese who live in Dunwoody when you do that. And so we kind of, I knew something like this was coming. I didn’t know it was going to result in the death of six people. But from what was happening in San Francisco and New York, we knew the violence was coming. Just didn’t expect it to be a shooting like this.
Rico: [00:08:47] Do you feel that this is a special moment in time? I mean, Trump hasn’t helped over the past year and if anything, he stoked the fire even worse.
Long: [00:09:00] Yeah. And I want to talk about how he stoked to fire as early as 2017, when he started challenging North Korea and all the talk of fire and brimstone. Unfortunately, we are considered perpetual foreigners. And so, you know, when people hear that, they just see the Korean Americans living in this country, even if they’re second generation, their parents were born here, as foreigners. And when Trump goes fire and brimstone to these people, they think, alright this is my permission to go attack and harass. And then, you know, comes the pandemic and someone’s gotta be scapegoated and he wanted a scapegoat. But he says, it’s the Chinese government. What a lot of Americans hear is Chinese people. And so they take out their frustration and anger on Chinese people.
Rico: [00:09:52] Do you find that, Asian-American is a broad term, right? My heritage is Italian, right? So people, when I grew up in the eighties, college in the seventies, I was Italian American. I belonged to the Italian American society in college. I mean You know, that’s a bit more fine. Although if you speak to an Italian, a Sicilian is different from a Roman that’s different from a Milanese or someone from Milan. So that’s all within that group. But Asian-American is so broad, right? It takes in a variety of countries, dozens of countries, really. Do you think that’s you know, does that help? Does that also provide a coalition if you will? What does that do for you?
Long: [00:10:31] So the term Asian American gives influence by providing the numbers that are needed. You know, if you were to just look at the economic impact of just the Cambodian or Vietnamese community, it’s not as high as an economic impact from the Asian American community. And so for the stakes of certain communities in other States where they’re just small, they’re the number in the hundreds. Say Columbus, Ohio, where Cambodians may only have 200 and Vietnamese may only have a thousand, but then you add in Chinese and Indian. Then we’re 10, 15,000. We become 5% of the population. We have now, a voice. And so it’s important to have that designation so that we get the resources we need.
Rico: [00:11:21] Do you, let me just point out something from the Pew research that many people may not be aware of. But it also shows the strength and I think the growth of the Asian community, that Asian communities are the fastest-growing racial ethnic group in the US electorate. So among the voters, that’s the fastest growing population. Most of them are naturalized citizens. That’s 67% of them are immigrants and 33% are US born. That’s normally not the case. Usually the fastest growing part or the largest part would be US born. But we’re talking about immigrants that have come here that decided to naturalize. They became US citizens. They chose to become US citizens, become part of this country, and to take up the responsibility of voting as well. So you have that happening. You have the growth of a lot of minority areas. You have the areas where, especially in let’s say, places like Duluth and parts of Atlanta where there is a growing population of Asian Americans and where there are people deciding they need to leave for some reason. What they’re calling ethnoburbs becomes a white flight area and people are moving out to other counties. Do you think, you know, I mean, obviously some people feel threatened for some reason. How do we address that? What’s your thoughts on that?
Long: [00:12:42] It’s complicated. Historically the reasons why Chinatowns exist is because at one point in time in our country’s history is that we could group people into sections. And so we could say all the Chinese are going to live in this area and it becomes Chinatown. But in the case of Duluth, Pleasant Hill area it was more just free market capitalism. The more Koreans started to move into the area, the more businesses came in to support that population, whether it’s grocery stores or restaurants. And so, you know, nothing’s monotonous. Nothing is like, this problem applies in our situation. So when you look at Gwinnett and you look at that area, the school has become a bit more competitive. Maybe too competitive. So people feel like, alright, I need to move somewhere where maybe my kid will have more of a shot. And that could be a reason for the white flight.
Rico: [00:13:35] I think that has to deal a little bit with what was happening when HAC article pointed out about school rankings, right? That the top 20, 18 of the top 20 kids in let’s say Duluth high schools were Asian. And colleges pit or used to pit, I don’t know if they still do. Would take into consideration rankings as well. So I think the County or the school system decided to do away with rankings because of that. Which is crazy to me because, you know, it’s almost like dumbing things down for no reason. Instead of raising the bar, we’re dumbing things down because other people may be smarter. It’s just like, you need to get your kids working a little better maybe, but sorry, hate to…
Long: [00:14:17] No, no. It’s, that’s a very real and it’s actually a problem because as much as our society likes to reward competition, free market. And I am as a small business owner, I truly believe in it. When a certain group seems to attain too much success, then people get concerned. And then they find ways to change things so that it becomes advantageous to them. So we look at some of the Ivy league schools and all of a sudden you realize that Asian Americans actually have to have a higher GPA than of the other ethnic groups to make it into those schools. So Harvard, an Asian American has to have a 4.1 or 4.2 to get in, but a white student would only need a 3.8 or 3.9. And they would say, well, this student does this and that. And so that gives some the jump over. And so the true flat out merit, those rules never truly stay in place. They’re always shifting that bar.
Rico: [00:15:19] Yes. It’s a moving target. It’s like, okay your grades aren’t good enough, but you’ve done a lot of volunteer work in the community. So we’re going to use that. There’s nothing really wrong with that, but the problem is is that these pendulums keep swinging back and forth, right? Like you said, when things get too, when people feel too threatened or such, there’s always someone that has to be a scapegoat, it seems. You know, it’s funny in a way, it reminds me of, there was a Soprano episode where one of the characters walk around with a cell phone talking. He’s walking around little Italy and he barely walked two blocks and he’s like, I’m in Chinatown already? That just shows the expansion of a population that is just one of many ethnic groups, right? To be doing that. Successful and providing good. I mean, we’re already seeing stuff. You know, movies like parasite, a lot of Asian influence in our communities. In food and music and in other areas and entertainment. And you know, maybe people are looking at that and instead of embracing it. I love Asian food. I love sushi. I mean, Italian food, grew up on matzah balls. We always talked about matzah balls and meatballs being interchangeable almost in the neighborhood I grew up in. So instead of seeing that as a good thing, there are too many people I think they’re just not happy with themselves, maybe and aren’t being friends. What do you think? Go ahead, I’m sorry.
Long: [00:16:56] So there’s Asian Americans like myself, who we live in two worlds. I am perfectly fine going down to the Kroger right down the street from me and I’m comfortable. And I can go to the HMart also down the street from me and be perfectly comfortable. But there are those who go into Kroger and they feel like everyone’s staring at them. And then of course there are those who go into HMart and feel like everyone is staring at them. We need to get to a point where it’s okay for you to go into an HMart and go get groceries. It’s no different than going into a Kroger. And then we won’t see that kind of white flight that happens.
Rico: [00:17:31] Yeah. I agree with you. I mean, I go into HMart because quite frankly, I like the vegetables more than I like, and it’s better priced than like other supermarkets. I think what happens just like, you know, on the face of it, if you will. We all look a bit different, right? And even Anglo-Saxon Asians, if you will, blended families. Which is, if you look at the younger generation, is more and more happening. So we’re looking, I think society is looking at one group that really is changing quite a bit. Your parents, versus you, versus your children maybe, are changing. We’re all becoming, it really is becoming what I always, never thought was really a melting pot growing up in New York. But really is becoming more of a melting pot now I think.
Long: [00:18:26] It is. My family is a perfect example of that. Where, my parents are both Vietnamese. But I didn’t marry Vietnamese. I actually married a Chinese woman. My brother, the other two aren’t married, but my brother that got married, he married white. And so the blending is happening. You can’t avoid it. You know, love takes you where it takes you. Which is a good thing, yeah. I think that’s something that needs to be embraced. You know, it’s sad that there are some who would look at that and go, a child that’s half Asian and half white has no place in our society. That’s such an outdated idea that I really hope that we get away from that.
Rico: [00:19:11] I think if you look at college kids or high school kids in an area that is a bit more diverse, you find a broad range of friendships. And it is changing and it’s a good thing that it’s changing. How do you think all this has affected Asian businesses? Asian owned businesses in Peachtree Corners or in our area? Has it affected?
Long: [00:19:33] It has definitely affected. I wasn’t the only one who opened up right before the pandemic. There’s a place called Mr. PJ’s right down the street from me owned by a Korean man. Great chicken wings. But he was getting scared too. Because he saw a business drop right away. When March hit and the first cases in Georgia started to be announced, he saw a big drop. I saw a drop, but not as significant as many other businesses. There’s kind of an installation area or cushion for Peachtree Corners, I think. In that Peachtree Corners has become a place for a lot of Asian families. Asian, Indian, Korean Americans, Vietnamese American, families have started to move into the area. And so they continue to go to those businesses. And, you know, I’d like to think that they, kind of like in Dunwoody, encouraged neighbors to go to other businesses. I saw that on the forums in Dunwoody where, you know, we’ve got to protect these businesses and then every once in a while someone would go, don’t forget about this restaurant. You know, they need help too. And so I think the more diverse community you have where your kids are in school together, and some of those kids’ parents are business owners in the city you live in. You’re like, Hey, you know, we’ve got to help this family too. And so I think Peachtree Corners has been lucky in that regard. I think we’ve got a great city, great neighbors who live around here. And so, hopefully we won’t see any of the harassment and definitely, hopefully we won’t see any of the violence that we’ve seen in other parts of Atlanta.
Rico: [00:21:17] It’s doubtful. I think in my mind. Hopefully I’m not saying the wrong thing. But I think it’s doubtful in this area because I just think this area is a bit different. You know, the makeup of the area, the diversity of the area, the income, the economic prosperity of the area, has been able to survive through things, right? So if people are still buying food, they’re still going out. Even before sort of the lifting of the stuff people were Instacarting. I mean, I was using Instacart to get food and ordering, and curbside pickups, and you know, the takeout really didn’t stop too much. So we were still patronizing businesses. How, you know, what. You know, one of the things that we talked about was, you know young kids being bullied and stuff. You know, what can Asian families do maybe to address some of that you know, in schools? You know, what for practical purposes can they do?
Long: [00:22:11] I would like to see parents start to address the bullying in a way that’s more, that’s bridge-building. Has a connection with the school. Far too often when Asian American kids get bullied, parents tell them, just put your head low, study hard, get through school, get to college. You’ll be okay. It’s not okay. I saw it with kids who came to college when I was in college that really struggled integrating. Because that scar, that fear you get from bullying, stays with you and it hurts how you interact with other people. So I want the parents to talk to their kids and tell their kids, if you’re being bullied, you need to tell us, and we’ll bring it up to the school. And you know, really impart to the principal and the school counselors that it needs to be addressed, that this has gone on for far too long. Just because you have successful academic Asian American students at your school, doesn’t mean there aren’t other kids where the bullying is affecting their ability to learn. And so the parents need to be more vocal and build a relationship with their school administrators.
Rico: [00:23:24] Have you heard of any bullying or anything along those lines?
Long: [00:23:30] I have. I’m not going to call out any schools. But I have heard of the bullying happening. And it seems to start in the middle school and then will carry over somewhat to the high schools. And so it’s unfortunate that it does happen. But we’ll you know, I think we’ll be able to figure out a way. Some of these Asian American advocacy groups because of the shooting, I think they’re going to start to address the bullying from a possible racial perspective now. And see if any of that, clearly some of it has to come from race issues. But to address it properly in the middle school and high school Right.
Rico: [00:24:12] For sure. I mean, kids can be traumatized easily in some ways. Some ways, you know, depending on the kid, I mean, it might toughen them up, it might. Other kids you know, toughen them up. Ridiculous thing to expect from a child that they should be toughened up. You know, we used to hear stuff about, our kids need safe spaces. And I always joked around about, you know, what does that mean? You know, growing up we didn’t have safe spaces. You know, I can, is that an old thing to say? I think that kids should be challenged with their thoughts and beliefs, but not challenged because of who they are. You should always be able to defend your ideas, because that just makes you better, I think. And validate you better and actually makes you a better person. If you can, you know, defend why you believe something a certain way. But bullying is not part of that. It’s just total different thing, yeah. So you’ve lived here in Dunwoody for 10 years, I guess, in the South. And you originally came from?
Long: [00:25:26] Ohio.
Rico: [00:25:26] Ohio. Ohio was a bit different for you? The North than the South?
Long: [00:25:31] Yeah. It’s very different. We have an area of Ohio called Youngstown and there’s a lot of Italian Americans who, and this, it sounds weird, but they retired to Youngstown. They retired to Youngstown from Chicago and New York. And so, but yeah, Ohio is definitely a Midwestern state where everyone’s friendly. The communities tend to be very blue collar, much smaller. And so there’s a more intimate connection among neighbors because when one neighbor does something, it spreads across the city very quickly. Because the city I grew up in, we had seven GM factories and so everyone worked for GM. So, you know, if you did something strange, the word spread through the unions across seven factories very quickly.
Rico: [00:26:27] So when you, so, and I come from New York and Brooklyn, and I guess that my parents and everyone that I knew retired to Jersey. I don’t know about you, but when I moved down, I found the South very different than the North, by far. In a way I found it friendlier, I got to know more people. But you also find things, you know, neighbors yelling across the street. I just saw the godfather Yeah But you know, how did you find the South when you came down?
Long: [00:27:02] I found it very similar to what you said. I definitely saw the Southern hospitality. You know, everyone’s very friendly. But some people, I think it’s kind of like that saying that people like to laugh at. The ‘bless your heart’ saying. There’s a goodness to it, but there’s also a slight backhand to it. And so, you know, some people will go, Oh, your English is very good. And it’s like, well, okay yeah. Do you say that to like everyone, you meet? Or just someone that you think is possibly a foreigner, even though I’m not. I was born and raised in Ohio. So that happens and then it’s always tough. You know, you get asked, where are you from? And my first response is always I’m from Ohio. I know what people mean. And so to figure out when someone is saying that in, from more or less an ignorant perspective versus a curiosity, a curious perspective. It’s always difficult.
Rico: [00:28:03] It’s a better way of saying, I mean, I like asking people, you know, what’s your heritage? You’re American, I’m American, we’re all Americans, right? Where did your ancestors come from? Where do your parents come from? I mean, you know, and talking to you, I found out, didn’t realize this. I was born here in America, so I always thought I was first generation American. But you put me straight because you said the federal government doesn’t look at it that way.
Long: [00:28:31] No. They see the immigrants. Your immigrant parents as the first generation, they’re the first to become American. So they’re first generation.
Rico: [00:28:38] If they’re naturalized. So of course my son asks, says, what if you were born here first and your parents become naturalized later? Are they second generation? Great question.
Long: [00:28:54] That’s a great question. I think they’re still considered first generation, so that would apply to me. I was born six months after my parents got here. And so they weren’t citizens yet. But I was definitely a citizen the moment I said hi to everyone. But uh, yeah. You know, I think the parents would still be considered first generation.
Rico: [00:29:13] I thought so too, but I thought that was great. He’s always out there with a different question than I had in mind. So getting back to the real question at hand that we’ve been covering also, what do you think local businesses can do to help out?
Long: [00:29:31] Local businesses need to just be a little bit more aware. You don’t have to necessarily be proactive, but pay attention to your customers who come in. If you’re not an Asian-American owned business and you see someone come in and something happens. And it may be something very small and it could be something that’s a big conflict. And so I’m going to talk about a few things to address as a bystander, because it also applies if you’re a business owner and you’re there watching. You can always get involved by one, what everyone seems to do nowadays is documenting and you can tape it. So you make sure your security cameras are on or your phone. But you can also help to try to diffuse the situation by delaying something or distracting them. Like, hey, you know, you want to try this or you want to try that? You know, depending on what your business is. That will help your customers feel more comfortable. If you feel like your Asian American customers are a little bit nervous coming in then get to know those customers. Have your staff get to know them. I do my best, I don’t necessarily know every single one of my customer’s names. But I think that’s helped our business quite a bit that when you come in, if you’ve come in at least three times, one of the staff or myself, we’re going to know your name. And we can tell if you’re nervous or you’re, you know, some people are just nervous in general. And then some may walk in and see that it’s, you know, one day my main room is filled with old white guys that are about to go golf and it makes some people uncomfortable. And so you get, just got to engage with them. For the Asian businesses, they need to let our law enforcement, let our city officials know if something’s happening. You know, if you talk to the businesses on Buford highway, Canton House, some of these businesses that have been around for decades. They’ll tell you, they’ve had rocks thrown through their windows. They’ve had their harassing phone calls. Businesses in Peachtree Corners, Dunwoody, and this Northern Dekalb area, Gwinnett, Southern Gwinnett, you’ve gotta speak up. You gotta let us know. If we don’t know. Gwinnett police can’t run additional patrols. My shopping center is a perfect example. You would never know it, but it’s a very mixed culturally shopping center. Next door to me, is a Thai restaurant owned by a Thai family. Across from me is a dry cleaner owned by a Filipino family. And then I’ve got a Chinese family with a vegan restaurant and a Persian restaurant as well. And so it’s a very diverse little shopping center we have. And I’ve talked to all of them that if something happens, if you see something that is, even if it’s questionable. You know, if you don’t want to call the police, let me know. I’ll call Gwinnett police. I’ll let our city council know. Just so that the awareness is there. And when the awareness is there, it helps to lower the intention.
Rico: [00:32:33] Do you think there’s enough laws out there? Do you think the hate crimes bill that Kemp signed into law last summer, do you think all that’s enough? Do you think it’s necessary to make sure that the hate crimes bill is used? So then it’s not just a crime, but it’s noted as a hate crime. Do you think that’s important?
Long: [00:32:57] I think it’s very important. And it’s not just like signing the bill and saying, we’ve got this hate crime bill. We have to educate the public that there is a hate crime bill and your act of violence, whether it’s throwing a rock at someone or shooting and killing someone, comes with larger penalties. If it turns out to be based on race, on gender, on religion, all the categories that they’ll cover. But the bill alone, isn’t the solution. It just provides a buffer hopefully making people think twice before acting. We really need to get to the root cause of why people feel like they need to blame specific subgroups. Whether it’s based on race, black or Asian, Latino. Based on gender, you know, blame things on women or, you know, sexuality, the LGBTQ. You can’t outlaw that kind of bias. But you can come up with policies and programs that will help educate people and hopefully get them to cross that bias. And I think some of it we need to start accepting is mental illness and start providing the funding to address mental illness.
Rico: [00:34:17] All good points. The, you know, the bill is one thing and it’s a political tool. So if it’s not enacted in culture it’s something else, right? You can’t put your foot on someone’s neck, or your knee if you will, if you can’t culturally understand why things are happening.
Long: [00:34:39] Right.
Rico: [00:34:39] So we’ve been talking to Long Tran here, owner of Peachy Corners Cafe here in Peachtree corners about Asian hate crimes. It’s a tough issue to talk about. We did a series of these types of things, this type of podcast about the crime on Blacks, back during the last, this past summer. Do you find any hope coming? Where do you find hope coming from?
Long: [00:35:03] I find hope from the younger generation. You know, when we did our rally, these nursing students, they wanted to make sure that we were inviting all the other communities with us. When George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery happened. I went to some of those protests and rallies and spoke to black community leaders. And I saw the younger generation show up. Of all backgrounds Latino, Asian, White. They all were showing up. They were marching together. And so I think the younger generation does not have a tolerance for this. And they call it out. If you’re on Tik Tok, you’ll see it called out on Tik Tok all the time. On certain social media, you know, people will say, you know, it’s not cool to hate or to be a bigot. This is why. And they post pictures and videos. So I see hope from the younger generation that they’ve drawn a line that this isn’t going to happen anymore. You know, I’m Generation X. And I think we got lulled into a perspective of, it came to an end. It didn’t really happen. It’s all isolated incidences. And you know, when given, when white supremacy was given a voice and some influence and power we saw what they could do. I mean, never in my lifetime, did I see something like Charlottesville. And we would lulled into thinking that that could never happen. And so my generation didn’t fight. But this younger generation, they’ve got the tools and they’re talking to one another.
Rico: [00:36:43] For sure. Thank God. There’s just too much stuff going on. The riots and the Washington, takeover of DC at one point. Almost apocalyptic looking. I mean, it’s just ridiculous. I mean, the people are okay with that happening and justifying those things. It’s been great having you on. It’s been great talking to you. I’ve got to come over to have some cup of coffee and dessert later.
Long: [00:37:13] Absolutely. And if you’ve never had bubble tea, you’ve got to try our bubble tea as well.
Rico: [00:37:17] I haven’t had it, my kids go out to get it. So I think, I’ll try some. So I appreciate you coming on Long. Thank you for being with me. Hang in there after this, but you know what, before we leave, tell everyone where you’re located and how they can find out information about you, your business, and anything else that you’d like to tell them to reach?
Long: [00:37:41] Sure. So we’re Peachy Corners Cafe, it’s actually PEACHY, Peachy. I don’t know if it was a smart decision to go with peachy versus peachtree. But that’s what we went with and we’re located by Holcombe bridge and Spalding drive. So if you know, where Loving Hut, Loving Hut’s been here forever, or Royal Thai, who’s been here forever. We’re right in between the two. We’re not in the same shopping center as the bowling alley. We’re in the one next to them. We’re open from eight to eight every day, but Sunday. We’re open on Sundays too, but from ten to six. Come on down. We have great coffee, great bubble tea. We also have wine if you want to just chill out in the evenings, do wine and a dessert. And then if you want to get involved with addressing the Asian-American, the violence against Asian Americans somehow. As a community, one of our first efforts right now is to fundraise for the families. They need money for legal fees and to help with the kids who are now parentless. So you can go to any of the community advocacy groups, Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Or the center for Pan Asian-American, CPACS or Center for Pan Asian-American Community Services is what it’s called. And you can go to their websites and find a donation. You can donate there and you know. For Peachy Corners. So you can go to www.PeachyCornersCafe.com, and that will get you to our Facebook and you’ll see our calendar and a link to everything else that we’re a part of.
Rico: [00:39:11] Excellent. We’ll have most of these links if not all of them in our show notes. So check that out later. But thank you again Long. I appreciate you being with me and talking today.
Long: [00:39:21] Thank you Rico for having me. This was a great conversation.
Rico: [00:39:24] Same here.
Two Student Artists talk about their art and the Virtual Wesleyan Artist Market 2021
In this episode of Peachtree Corners Life, Rico Figliolini is joined by two young and inspiring student artists, Kate Adent and Dane Scott. Kate and Dane are two of many young artists that are involved in the upcoming Virtual Wesleyan Artist’s Market. Dane and Kate share their artistic journey, inspirations, and experience with the upcoming artist’s market.
Virtual Artist’s Market www.ArtistMarket.WesleyanSchool.org
Timestamp/Where to find it in the podcast:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:45] – About Dane
[00:04:47] – About Kate
[00:07:25] – Kate’s Art
[00:10:54] – Dane’s Art
[00:15:37] – How the Virtual Market Works
[00:17:05] – Online Versus In-Person
[00:19:05] – What’s Next for Young Artists
[00:22:47] – Experiences with the Artist’s Market
[00:24:39] – Closing
“It’s a super fun atmosphere. If there are any students from Wesleyan listening to this right now, I would encourage you to do it. At first I was kind of scared to do it… But it’s super fun and it’s fun to meet people, talk to people and just get appreciation for your work. I would encourage anybody to do it.”Kate Adent
Rico: [00:00:30] Hi, this is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life. And this is the show
that talks about everything about Peachtree Corners. We have special guests tonight from the
Wesleyan Artist’s Market. I’ll introduce them shortly. But in the meantime first, let me introduce
our sponsor for this show along with the family of podcasts that I do, and that’s Hargray Fiber.
They’re a Southeast regional company that provides internet connectivity to a variety of
businesses, whether you’re small or enterprise size. And they provide the tools to keep you
working, whether you’re remote or in office or you’re in a hybrid employment. With the tools that
keep you working and doing the right thing out there on the net. So check them out,
HargrayFiber.com or Hargray.com if you’d like. And thank you guys for supporting us. So we
have two special guests. One of them is a four year veteran of the Artist’s Market and the other
one’s a newbie, if you will, first year on the market. Both talented students of the Artist’s Market.
And this is what tonight’s show is about. So we’re going to be interviewing them. Let me bring
them on. And we have Kate Adent and Dane Scott. Hi guys. Thanks for showing up. I
appreciate you being with me.
Dane: [00:01:44] Thank you for having us.
Rico: [00:01:45] Sure. So you know, Kate has the work that she does is calligraphy and
photography, and we’ll get into that. And Dane Scott. Do I have the names right? Yes. Dane
Scott. Yes, cool. This is what happens during these shows. So Dane is an artist that does a
variety of things along with sticker art graphics. So what I want to do is I want to talk to and bring
them on individually for a minute to talk a little bit about who they are and what they do. So let’s
do, let’s have Dane Scott on first, and you tell us a little bit about yourself Dane.
Dane: [00:02:19] Thank you very much for having me tonight. My name is Dane Scott. I’m in
ninth grade, almost 16 years old, and I will be participating in this year’s Wesleyan Artist’s
Rico: [00:02:34] So tell us also a little bit about, you know, what do you do at school, what your
activities a little bit are like. How’s Wesleyan as far as an environment like that?
Dane: [00:02:43] Wesleyan is a great and fantastic environment. I love all my friends there. We
have really deep spiritual connections and I honestly enjoy every moment there. I participate in
a couple of afterschool activities. I actually participated in marching band in the summer and fall.
And then I now participate in mock trial.
Rico: [00:03:08] Cool. That’s great. So, and tell us, just give us an idea of the type of work you
Dane: [00:03:15] Artistically, I love using programs such as Illustrator and sometimes a little bit
of Photoshop to just express my art. I used to use Tactile art, such as Posca Paint Pens, which
are acrylic paint pens. And I used to draw on basically everything. I would draw on my drum
heads. I would draw on phone cases. I would draw on mint tins even, for Altoids. And Iexpressed my art that way, but some other ways to express my art and I find it easier to create
art and to make new products and images using illustrator.
Rico: [00:03:56] And you were telling me a little bit before the show that one of your inspirations
came from Vexx. Tell us who that is and what inspired you.
Dane: [00:04:05] Yes, sir. Vexx as far as I understand is a Swedish artist who he does a lot of
fun, really fun cartoon work, tons of colors. And a lot of people are inspired by him. I follow him
on my social media platform. And I originally got inspired about a year ago to this date. I got
inspired by him and I wanted to you know, give a twist of my creativity to his art. So I started
drawing and practicing doodling and drawing like he did. I watched tons of his videos about how
to doodle and creative thinking process. And I managed to express my creativity that way.
Rico: [00:04:47] We’re going to be showing some of his artwork a little later in this podcast. So if
you’re listening to this, please check out our video. But let me also bring on now, Kate Adent into
the show too. Hey Kate. Thanks for waiting in the wings.
Kate: [00:05:02] Yes, thank you for having me.
Rico: [00:05:04] Sure. So tell us also a little bit about yourself to the same way that Dane was
able to talk about his experience and what he does. Tell us, I know you do softball also. So tell
us a bit about your experience.
Kate: [00:05:16] Yeah, so I’m a sophomore at Wesleyan. Like you said, I’ve done the market for
a few years now. I play softball and I used to play lacrosse, but that’s over. Oh, but yes, so like
Dane was saying I use a lot of Photoshop and Illustrator Indesign for my art. And when I do my
calligraphy, I’ve started using an iPad. So I use Procreate, which has really just made it easier
for me to get custom work out faster. So that has been super helpful for me. And I’ve also, Oh,
sorry. Were you going to say something? I’ve also been into photography a lot recently, so I use
Lightroom to edit those photos.
Rico: [00:05:53] So, right. So as far as inspiration, I mean, I know that Dane had Vexx inspire
him. Where do you find your inspiration to do some of the artwork or calligraphy that you do
Kate: [00:06:05] Honestly, it’s just like influencers that I follow on Instagram. A lot of different
calligraphy accounts. That’s how I found out about Procreate. And I have a lot of friends at my
church that do stuff like I do. So I’ve been able to learn from them a lot.
Rico: [00:06:18] Interesting what you said before about doing, it sounds like commission work is
what you do also. So, and you even, so when someone, what’s a typical commission work that
someone would want from Kate Adent?Kate: [00:06:32] Well, I’ve done work for like weddings, I’ve addressed wedding invitations. A lot
of special events like signs. And my brother got married recently, so I was actually able to
design and produce all of his, like all of the paper needs. Like signage, menus, invitations,
everything for that. So just stuff like that.
Rico: [00:06:55] And when you do, so people actually, you’ve actually set up a website of your
own. Not only can you, can anyone here find your work at Wesleyan Artist Markets soon to be
opened virtual artist’s market, but they can also come to your website, right? And what’s that
Kate: [00:07:15] KatePrints.com.
Rico: [00:07:17] Cool. So, and if they wanted to buy specific custom commission work, they can
do that through that site with you?
Kate: [00:07:24] Yes, sir.
Rico: [00:07:25] Excellent. So let’s do a little bit of show and tell here and we’ll start. We’ll start
with you Kate first. So I’m going to bring on some pieces that you’ve done. So bear with me a
second. So some of the work that you sent me. So tell us, so obviously calligraphy is part of the
market, right? Is being sold at the market, I guess?
Kate: [00:07:48] Yes, sir.
Rico: [00:07:49] Excellent. So you want to tell me a little bit about this one?
Kate: [00:07:54] Yes. So this was just a piece of commission work I did for a friend just for her to
give as a gift. Just a Bible verse for one of her friends.
Rico: [00:08:03] Okay. And you have another one there let’s do this one.
Kate: [00:08:06] Yeah, so I think there was a couple of those just examples.
Rico: [00:08:10] Right. So there’s another one there that you did that was also commission work
Kate: [00:08:17] Yes, sir.
Rico: [00:08:18] Right. And actually you even have almost like a font library.
Kate: [00:08:25] Yes. So all of that was handwritten. Like I said, I do that in Procreate. So that’s
actually a print that I have for sale on my website.Rico: [00:08:32] And you’re also putting, so if someone wanted to buy, let’s say a pen. Let me
get this one up. I’ll show you. Like that one. That’s one of yours too, I think right?
Kate: [00:08:43] Yes.
Rico: [00:08:44] So tell us a little bit about that and what you’re, what you’re doing with this.
Kate: [00:08:48] Yes. So like about this time, last year I started my website and for the most
part, it was just like paper prints and stuff like that. So I wanted to add something else. And so,
like I said, a person I follow on Instagram had started to make these flags. So I designed like the
writing on my computer and then I print them out on my silhouette machine and he pressed
them and they’re yes. And they’re all hand-sewn.
Rico: [00:09:18] So you have a silhouette machine? That’s cool.
Kate: [00:09:21] Yes.
Rico: [00:09:23] So you’re a maker in Peachtree Corners.
Kate: [00:09:26] I am. Yes, sir.
Rico: [00:09:28] And so the flower on that decorative portion of it, does that also come with the
banner or is that just part of the photography?
Kate: [00:09:35] That was just part of the picture.
Rico: [00:09:37] Okay. But anyone can commission these types of banners with you, I’m
Kate: [00:09:41] Yes, sir. I’ve made a bunch of customs for people, for different events, and for
Rico: [00:09:46] Okay, cool. And of course we were talking before about photography as well.
And you’ve done some photography work it seems also. Are you is that also again, I mean, is
that commissionable too? If you do photography?
Kate: [00:10:04] Yes, it is. I’ve been doing some senior pictures recently. That’s that. Yes, sir.
That’s one of my friends from school. And then I’ve also been asked by the varsity baseball
coach at Wesleyan to be the team photographer this year. So that’s been super fun getting to do
other stuff and to learn other things.
Rico: [00:10:25] Well, it’s good to see the work that you’re doing. And you know, you’re young.
Although this is your fourth year, has it changed from what you did the first year to what you’re
doing in the fourth year?Kate: [00:10:36] Yes sir. So the first year I actually did the market with a friend and we did
monograms. This was in sixth grade. So with my silhouette, like cutting machine, I made
monograms and stickers for, and I sold those. But now I’m just doing more calligraphy type work
Rico: [00:10:54] Alright. Now let’s bring on Dane. Dane? I want to be able to show some of your
artwork also. And maybe you can give us a little explanation of some of the artwork that I’m
going to be putting up here.
Dane: [00:11:07] Awesome.
Rico: [00:11:09] So give us some background on some of these pieces.
Dane: [00:11:14] So this is my, actually, this is my most recent piece that I’ve done. And I always
start my process by outlining everything. So I take a black marker and Adobe illustrator and I do
all the lining for it. And then the next step, I create like the facial expression. So I create the
lining of the character and that little orange guy, right there will be totally blank. And I will come
up with what I want the scene to be. So say I wanted him to be sad. You know, I might’ve added
a frowny face and the eyebrow to be lowered and the cloud might be gray and crying or
something like that. But in this case I needed it to be a happy picture. Like most of my works. So
I proceeded in that way and it turned out as this.
Rico: [00:12:09] Cool. Now, not a happy guy.
Dane: [00:12:11] No, I have two of those styles. I actually have one with me right here. I have
another one that I did in the similar style is that it’s a storm cloud with big, angry, eyebrows and
a lightning coming out of it. But anyway, in that cactus picture, in that cactus picture I was kind
of, I wanted some inspiration. So I told my family to, you know, think of a random object and my
sister shouted out cactus. So I was like, Oh, that’d be fun. So I drew that one afternoon after I
did my homework. And it turned out like that.
Rico: [00:12:52] And the strawberry that I’m bringing on, now.
Dane: [00:12:55] The strawberry. So originally before I started doing stickers, a big thing of mine
was doing sliced up fruit. Like not, like I drew sliced up fruit and I thought it would be really cool
to translate some of my original works into stickers. So I think I have maybe five fruits in my little
sticker stockpile right here.
Rico: [00:13:19] So you said you earlier, I think while we were up, this was pretty sure you said
you used Sticker Mule to be able to do this?
Dane: [00:13:27] Yes, sir. I send it over to the people at Sticker Mule and they are really quick to
respond. Most of my stickers, I can get ordered within the first, you know, eight hours. They
approve it. They go through and do all your edits for you. It’s fantastic.Rico: [00:13:44] Wow. And how long, what’s like your normal order of stickers when you do
Dane: [00:13:49] I usually purchase the stickers 10 at a time for about $9. So it’s a really good
price. You can look all over the web and other websites. You know, they’ll have it a little bit
higher or a little bit lower, but these are really good quality. They’re waterproof, heat resistant.
They’re 3M which means they’re like super sticky and they’re, you know, what a kayak sticker
is? A kayak sticker so basically, you know, it, you can kayak in it. So it’s super durable. It’s really
heavy grade and it doesn’t scratch easily or wear easily. And I’ve actually had some on the back
of my phone case right now for about six months. And they do not fall off or scratch or wear
anything. They are super durable and high quality.
Rico: [00:14:40] You know, it’s funny because one of the companies I do work with, it’s a media
company and they’ve been sending out stickers that they’ve made. I don’t know where they’re
getting them from, but apparently laptop stickers is the big thing, right? What about this one?
Dane: [00:14:54] This is a pizza. This was actually the third design I ever made. I think the
strawberry was the first. No, the strawberry was the second. This was the third design because I
just like pizza and I thought that was a really fun, colorful design.
Rico: [00:15:09] And this is the last one right, in the series?
Dane: [00:15:12] Yes, sir. So this was originally when I hit 100 followers on Instagram. I actually
put this flaming pickle in the piece and my dad’s like, Oh, that’s a cool character. You should
include that on the stickers on like, yeah, I should. So I drew him in Adobe illustrator, sent him
off to sticker mule, and I got him about seven days later, so.
Rico: [00:15:37] So I’m going to bring us all three on at this point. And just want to be able to go
a little further and just talk a little bit more about the Wesleyan Artist’s Market. So, you know,
how is that working as far as you being able to put your art on and you know, what’s the
process? So if someone wants to buy your work, how would that work out? Who wants to go
Kate: [00:16:00] I can go. So as far as I understand, or as I know it’s a website that’s going to go
live day of market and anybody is just able to go on and shop through the different sites of
different vendors that are all students. And then there’s going to be another section of like the
professional artists that would normally be in market. And you’re just able to shop through there.
Rico: [00:16:24] So now, if anyone has questions about your artwork or if they’d want
commission work? Because, you know, they like the sticker that you do, or they like the
calligraphy that you’re doing, or the banners would they be able to reach you through that artist’s
market as well? I imagine.Dane: [00:16:41] As far as I understand, we, the student artists are not allowed to have our
personal phone numbers. We are allowed to have our social media accounts however, and not
a parent email. I think they will allow people to leave their comments and then forward those
emails to us, where we may respond. Just to add a little bit more security to the student
operation of it.
Rico: [00:17:05] Sure, sure. And then, you know, doing a virtual market is lot different right, than
in-person. So obviously Dane doesn’t know the in-person side of it, but Kate would. So how was
the, you know, the interesting part? Were you at the show also showing your work when like last
year? Not last year, year before.
Kate: [00:17:25] Yes. So, it’s super fun in person. You get to be there for like three days and you
have a booth that you set up with all your work. And since we’re students we have to go to
school during the day. So a parent would like man the booth and like make sales for you, but
then right after school ends, you get to come for like the rest of, I think it’s a Friday. And then all
day Saturday, the market’s open. So you just get to talk to people and it’s super fun.
Dane: [00:17:52] So could I comment on that real quick?
Rico: [00:17:54] Yeah, sure.
Dane: [00:17:55] Well, my sister did the artist’s market last year. I showed up almost every day.
It was super fun to come after school, do my homework. The atmosphere is great. And there’s
so many talented artists there as well. So it’s really, really fun to show up and I’m sad we have to
do it virtually this year.
Rico: [00:18:11] Yeah. I mean, did you get a chance to walk around and see all the artists and
what they do? Yeah, that must’ve been fun too. Did you get a chance to even speak to some of
the artists? Cause I’d imagine, you know, artists to artists, you might have comments or
Dane: [00:18:25] Oh, sorry. Go ahead. You go ahead.
Kate: [00:18:29] I got to meet a couple of like the professional artists. They’re like on the main
floor of the gym during the market. And there’s a couple of them that I’ve gotten to meet and I’m
still really in contact with. And they’ve been a pretty big inspiration, honestly, for me too.
Rico: [00:18:45] Dane. You were going to comment as well?
Dane: [00:18:47] Yes sir. My dad actually bought a wonderful piece of the American flag and I’m
pretty sure he’s still in contact with the artist. They’ve got so many talented artists. Every one of
them is so kind and it’s really fun to talk to them about their process and how they do what they
do.Rico: [00:19:05] What do you, you know, I mean, obviously you’re in ninth grade, young artists.
What do you want to do? I mean, where do you want to start your path in life? What do you
think is your thing?
Dane: [00:19:18] That is a good question, sir. I am not fully confident in my path in life. I don’t
know if I’ll, I kind of doubt that I’ll go into a full artist career. I do like doing art as a hobby though.
I have many hobbies. I do some prop design. I do some videoing, you know. I do a little bit of
instruments and stuff. So I don’t know if I’ll pursue it professionally, but that’s a very good
Rico: [00:19:47] Well you have obviously a creative vent and you, all the things that you
mentioned are in the creative realm. So maybe that road is kind of broad, but maybe that’s the
path that you might be good at. Sure.
Kate: [00:20:04] I really would love to be a graphic designer. I think that would be so much fun.
That’s been a dream of mine for a long time. I don’t know whether that would be like freelance or
if I would work with a company. But really anything would be awesome. But I’d also love to have
photography as like a part of my business or a part of my job. So that would be super cool. Like
sports photography I think is so much fun.
Rico: [00:20:25] Oh yeah, I would think. Especially if you love sports, it sounded like you started
with lacrosse and then you went to softball. So that’s definitely sports photography. Like food
photography and portrait photography are very different from each other and it does take a
talent to do those things. And you’ve really got to love it to be able to capture I think the right
moments. And have a camera that can shoot a hundred shots before you get that one, one
really good sports shot. Right? So what so now that you know, pretty much where, you know,
what do you think you’d want to do next? As far as artwork goes, Kate? I know, you know,
calligraphy, photography, what would be next years? I know we haven’t even started this year’s
yet, but what do you think would be your next project?
Kate: [00:21:16] Probably really the same stuff. I really enjoy what I’m doing and I don’t really
think I would make any other changes. If anything, I would add other pieces or other elements.
But I think I’m going to stick with calligraphy and photography.
Rico: [00:21:30] Cool. Dane what about you?
Dane: [00:21:33] I may add sort of a mixed bag if you will. I’ve been working on my computer.
I’m working on some prints right now, combining some of my characters into a scene.
Unfortunately, I can’t sell the props I actually make because that’s not legal because I don’t own
the rights to them. But I think I’ll continue with the stickers, prints, and maybe a couple of my
photos. I also like to do photography in both video games and in real life.
Rico: [00:22:04] Yeah. Actually I did notice that on your Instagram, you do video game
photography?Dane: [00:22:09] Yes, sir. I mainly focus on a game called Forza Horizon 4. I love cars racing. I
have, you know, in the basement I’ve kind of set up a little steering wheel thing with the pedals
and all that. I love racing. So I just take the opportunities to capture those cool moments when
you know, you’re swinging around the curve at a hundred miles an hour in your car, and you can
just capture that moment. So it’s really fun to do that.
Rico: [00:22:36] You’d almost want to do that in a VR setting.
Dane: [00:22:40] Yes, sir. My cousin actually put me in his VR thing and it’s a little bit nauseous
going that fast.
Rico: [00:22:47] The Oculus quest for my son. And I had to set up an area for him so then he
wouldn’t bump into the walls. Cause when you’re moving around in that you have no idea where
you are. And I had actually set up a tactile area for him so that if he steps off it, he knows he’s
going into a wall or something. So, yeah. And that can be a little, I tried it on and it just. I’d like to
be in there for a little longer, but he took it back. He was like Dad, no it’s mine. Cool. So we, do
you guys want to, Kate, do you want to share anything else about your experience with your
artist’s market that you know, maybe you’d like to share with people?
Kate: [00:23:22] Gosh, I don’t know. Just that it’s a super fun atmosphere. And like, if there is
any students from Wesleyan listening to this right now, or when it comes out, I guess. That I
would encourage you to do it. Cause at first I was kind of scared to do it because I only saw like
high schoolers doing it and I did it in middle school. But it’s super fun and it’s fun to meet people,
talk to people and just like get appreciation for your work. I would encourage anybody to do it.
Rico: [00:23:47] That’s cool. And I especially appreciate being a business person. The fact that
you set up a website to sell your own stuff as an entrepreneur, that’s a great thing to do and a
great experience I think.
Kate: [00:24:01] Yes, it was super fun too.
Rico: [00:24:04] Right. And still more to come I’m sure.
Kate: [00:24:07] Yes. I’ve learned a lot from that for sure.
Rico: [00:24:10] Dane what about you?
Dane: [00:24:11] Actually on the point of the website, one aspect of this artist market that I’ve
enjoyed. We as artists actually get to set up our own little web page that we can kind of show
what we’re about. We get a description, you know, we get to have our banner or colors
everywhere to show, you know what we’re about as an artist. And I think that’s another aspect
that they previously didn’t have in the artist market. And that adds to it in a way.Rico: [00:24:39] After speaking to Gina Solomon and some of the other women that guide the
Wesleyan artist market, I think this is definitely, even though they were forced to do a virtual
artist’s market because of the pandemic. This is something that they realize they do want to
keep. And it does expand that exposure for the artists. Not only, you know, student artists, but
certainly the professional artists. So it’s a great place for people that cannot come to the artist
market to be able to see what’s going on. So that’s kinda neat that way. So we’ve been talking to
Kate Adent and Dane Scott, students at the artist’s market, Wesleyan artist market that opens
Dane: [00:25:19] April 22nd through 29th. It’s a week of shopping. Early shopping is available
for those who sponsor the event and it is www.ArtistsMarket.WesleyanSchool.org.
Rico: [00:25:34] You’d be a great cohost. Good job, thanks for helping out. We’ve been talking
to some great artists here and I think that whatever they do in the future, it will be exciting for
them. So, and listen, if you want to follow them, actually, where can they, Kate, where can they
follow you on?
Kate: [00:25:51] I have an Instagram and a Facebook and both of them are just @KatePrints.
Rico: [00:25:56] Okay. And Dane?
Dane: [00:25:58] Yes. If you want to see more of my work, I’d be happy to show you. It’s
Rico: [00:26:08] Excellent. Alright, I appreciate your time. Appreciate you being with me. Hope
everyone enjoyed this and looking at the artwork of these kids. But definitely check out the
Wesleyan Artist’s Market in the student section, because there are other students as well there
too. And the professional artists that have been curated and juried for this. So check that out. It’ll
be a good show. Thank you for being with us.
Dane: [00:26:31] Thank you very much
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