December 4th Virtual Transform Westside Summit: “Say It At The Summit”

As the resurgent COVID-19 continues to impact the nation, Westside Future Fund continues to support residents of Atlanta’s Historic Westside through its four impact areas. At a time when many residents and businesses require various forms of assistance, listening to their needs is now more critical than ever. That is why the December 4th Virtual Transform Westside Summit was held via Zoom as Westside community members were invited to “Say It At The Summit.”

John Ahmann, President & CEO of WFF, LIVE in the Elevate Studio

John Ahmann, President & CEO of Westside Future Fund, hosted the interactive Zoom session which offered many chances for participants and viewers of the live-stream to answer a number of poll questions before eventually opening the floor for attendees to speak their minds about what they’d like to see covered at future summits. Ahmann made clear that when it comes to improving quality of life on the Westside, WFF’s goal is to “do with and not to the community.”

Benjamin Earley, WFF Westside Correspondent, LIVE in front of 970 Jefferson St.

WFF Westside Correspondent, Benjamin Earley joined live from the parking lot of 970 Jefferson St. to invite attendees and viewers to share locations on the Westside which they’d like to see featured at the summit throughout 2021.

Reverend Dr. Leroy Wright Jr., Pastor, First Thessalonian Missionary Baptist Church

Dr. Leroy Wright Jr., Pastor at First Thessalonian Missionary Baptist Church, offered the devotional message.

Bill Bolling, Board Chairman, Food Well Alliance

Bill Bolling, Board Chairman, Food Well Alliance, checked in to suggest showcasing neighbors helping neighbors, spotlighting black farmers and the benefits of food security that organizations such as the Food Well Alliance help provide.

Leonard Adams, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Quest Communities, hit the Zoom stage to bring up HBCU’s, engaging the youth and uplifting small black owned businesses in the MLK Corridor.

Cindy Simpson, Vice President, Chief Officer of CHRIS 180

Cindy Simpson, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, CHRIS 180, suggested showcasing young artists and fostering partnerships between residents and the Atlanta Police Department to impact the community’s level of safety.

Residents also took to the virtual mic to discuss homelessness, empowering black men, empowering families, homeownership, student involvement, living-wage jobs, and even a community wi-fi. One suggestion that sparked interest was the idea of a Resident Awards where residents could be nominated and showcased for their contributions to making the Westside a more vibrant community.

With a variety of informative polls, including some for fun, residents let their voices be heard. Some residents chimed in to say it was their first summit, others offered praise as regular attendees. Throughout it all, the overarching sentiment was, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”