Atlanta is Awesome
This project was started with the idea that Atlanta is awesome. Not only that, but the sentiment that we should be proud of our city the way people are fiercely proud to be from New York, Philly or Chicago. As a native of Georgia and hailing from the greater Atlanta area, I have always found myself as the lone ‘native’ in most Atlanta circles. During rounds of introductions I hear a lot of “I’m from ___, but I have lived in Atlanta for ___ years”. Atlanta is filled with transplants. And unlike in Brooklyn or Portland, where people take to calling themselves natives after 2-3 years of residence, in Atlanta, transplants remain so. Perhaps we should ask ourselves why the many people who come to live in our fair city never take pride in calling it home.
For the average visitor walking down Peachtree Street , Atlanta may seem one dimensional. Tall buildings that lack the impressive flair of NYC skyscrapers, chain restaurants trying to tempt tourists with their loud, neon signs and the occasional sighting of an awkward Segway tour underway. But judging Atlanta on that is like never leaving the West End in London, or declaring yourself an expert on Texas because the barbecue at Houston’s airport sucks. Atlanta expands beyond these general detractions to some quite impressive happenings. There are urban gardens with live chickens, 24 hour public art exhibits, pop-up orchestra performances, secret restaurants, fair trade cooperatives , refugees from multiple foreign conflicts who add to a growing international food haven, clandestine housing and a roving cardboard cat invasion. Atlanta should be proud of its diversity and its eccentricities for it is these that set us apart from other places. We are not just a birthplace of Coca-Cola, a home to the busiest airport in the world or the largest city in the South, we are a living, bustling city of creative wonder. A city that you should be proud to call home.
In a recent Creative Loafing blog post, food critic Besha Rodell took pride in defending her adopted home of Atlanta from would-be detractors. She, like most Atlantan’s, is a transplant, but she has found solace in her experience here after leaving her beloved New York. Although the majority of her commentary is aimed at the culinary defense of Atlanta, her assessment that “The best of what we do, the best of what we are, is hidden in the nooks. It isn’t easily found. That’s what makes it so much fun. There are places in this town, to eat, to drink, to live, that make my heart ache with pride” rings true for many other aspects of Atlanta.
Atlanta is awesome. Whether people can appreciate that or not remains to be seen, but this project is a step in that direction. Our aim is to uncover all of the positive, wonderful things happening in our city and the people making them possible. We want to connect these change-makers and go-getters together, allowing them to network, grow and collaborate. And perhaps most of all, we want to show how the character of this city should be a sense of identity and pride for all. Now tell us all the ways you’re helping make Atlanta the most awesome city around.