Mar 29, 2023 - News

Mayor's 2023 agenda calls for more youth efforts

Mayor Andre Dickens stands at a lectern in front of the Atlanta city seal

Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at the State of the City at Downtown's Marriott Marquis. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

Mayor Andre Dickens wants to spend the next year giving Atlanta's young people better access to jobs, activities and early childhood education.

Driving the news: The mayor doubled down on his Year of the Youth initiative and announced additional goals for 2023 at his second State of the City address on Tuesday.

Details: Dickens told CEOs, elected officials and civic leaders at the one-part review, one-part preview event that the city will soon award $20 million in city, school and private funding to increase access to early learning programs.

  • Midnight Basketball, the city program connecting young people with educational resources, healthcare and other services through sports, will return "bigger and better than ever," he said.

Dickens urged the crowd to become mentors, donate cash to youth-focused organizations and offer internships this summer.

Zoom out: On Friday, crews will break ground on a Downtown center that will provide showers, food, laundry and other services to people arrested for quality-of-life crimes.

  • The city will also launch a pilot program offering a 20-year freeze on property taxes for 100 seniors living on low incomes.

The other side: Activists who oppose the public safety training center and advocate for protesters' rights, policing reform and a reimagined Downtown jail criticized Dickens' leadership at their own State of the City held afterward.

  • "The state of Atlanta is not one which you just heard, [dressed up] with marching bands with a crowd there to cheer him on," said Kamau Franklin of Community Movement Builders. "The state of Atlanta is the real people of Atlanta who are struggling every day."

Of note: The State of the City is a private event funded by the Coca-Cola Company and the Atlanta Committee for Progress, a coalition of CEOs that meets behind closed doors with the mayor quarterly.


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