By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
Byron Amos hopes to win the City Council District 3 runoff election on April 16. Peach caught up with him to talk experience and his lifelong service to the residents of District 3 – including its LGBTQ residents.
What experience from your previous career has prepared you for a possible seat on the District 3 City Council?
I am a lifelong resident of District 3. My 20 years of public service has been spent in direct service to the residents of District 3. From the time I was a young man serving as SGA Vice President at Booker T. Washington High School, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My community service continued as both Chairman and Vice Chairman for our local NPU. Further, I have served as the PTA President, Civic Association President, and finally was elected official to the Board of the Atlanta Public School (APS) System. I have represented this District on the Atlanta Board of Education for the past seven years. My experience in preparing and providing oversight for a budget of 818 million dollars has provided me with a foundation to thoughtfully represent the people of District 3 as a member of the Atlanta City Council.
What do you hope to achieve if you win the runoff election on April 16 and you become City Council member?
Today, I believe the most significant issues facing the City of Atlanta and District 3 are public safety, affordability, and job creation. Right now, the City has approximately 500 repeat offenders that are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violent and petty crime. I will focus on having the Fulton County Superior and State Court Judges appropriately sentence individuals who are convicted of multiple criminal offenses. By holding the Superior and State Court Judges accountable, I believe that we can cut crime in Atlanta by an additional 13 percent over the next four years. This will bring the total crime reduction in the City of Atlanta down by 50 percent since 2010. Second, public-private partnerships are essential to providing housing options that are accessible and affordable for the residents of District 3. My community is a close-knit working-class community, so it is my intention to build on the work of the House Atlanta task force recommendations. Third, I believe the future of District 3 will be tied to the success of new and historic small business ownership. My office will be the center of entrepreneurship as I connect and coordinate new and historic small businesses with new opportunities. Both the City of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta – in addition to the Metro Atlanta Chamber – will be essential partners for this effort.
You are a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ community. Tell us about your involvement with the LGBTQ community.
Early on in my career, I held the security contract at the oldest black LGBTQ social club and lounge in Atlanta, the Marquette. That experience taught me as a professional to respect and to be sensitive to the needs of the LGBTQ community. I carried this experience with me as I was elected to the Atlanta Board of Education. As a member of the Board, I supported a number of policies that were aimed at supporting gender and sexual identity. As a school district, APS was a leader in the No Place for Hate Campaign which states that students shall not be subjected to discrimination or harassment because of the student’s gender identity or expression. I also supported the District’s efforts to begin sensitivity and awareness training on how to be supportive of diverse students, including diversity of gender identity and led the way in supporting a policy that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their chosen identity.
Are there specific issues that pertain to the LGBTQ community you wish to pursue?
I have had extensive conversations with members of the LGBTQ community. The most pressing issues raised with me during those conversations included Atlanta’s HIV epidemic and lack of sufficient funding to address prevention, treatment, and housing. Additionally, I have had extensive conversations about Atlanta’s HIV crisis, LGBTQ youth homelessness in the City of Atlanta, HIV drug TRUVADA, and housing discrimination. These are all issues I would like to pursue and address if elected to the Atlanta City Council.
Why should LGBTQ residents of District 3 vote for you on April 16?
I hope to earn the support of the LGBTQ community because I strongly believe that as the cradle of the Civil Rights movement, Atlanta has a moral and civic obligation to upholding human rights for all people – regardless of sexual orientation or identity. If elected, I will work with the Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Committee and LGBTQ residents of District 3 to ensure that we create a city where all people feel safe and supported in living openly as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. I am committed to having on-going conversations with the LGBTQ community to discuss how we can address the most pressing issues facing their community.
Learn more at byronamos.com.