Happy Friday, fam.

🌀️ Today's weather: Partly sunny (!) and a high of 87.

πŸ’‘ Situational awareness: Today's newsletter is dedicated to an existential question about our city: Is the "Atlanta Way" still alive and well?

Today's newsletter is 989 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: 🧐 Activists challenge the Atlanta Way

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Opposition to a new public safety training center in the South River Forest is proving to be a test case of whether the Atlanta Way, which has long been viewed as what sets the city apart from other Southern cities, can β€”Β or should β€” continue in the 21st century.

Why it matters: The Atlanta Way is a more than 100-year-old, informal partnership between Black political officials and community leaders and white business and civic members to hash out deals for the good of the city. Its proponents say it has improved the quality of life for Black Atlantans.

The big picture: This approach to race relations was used "to keep the city on a straight-and-narrow path when it comes to its brand" and reputation, said King Williams, a local journalist whose upcoming "The Atlanta Way" documentary explores gentrification.

  • However, the new generation of activists leading the movement against the training center "have revolted, or just bypassed that system of governance altogether," Williams told Axios.

State of play: Critics speaking out against the public safety training center have expressed outrage that the city's majority-Black elected officials approved a project they say will militarize a police force that unfairly targets Black communities.

What they're saying: Kamau Franklin of Community Movement Builders, who is opposed to the training center, told Axios that members of the movement are no longer satisfied with representation simply through Black elected officials. They want representatives who also share their values.

  • "The [new] Atlanta Way is bolder, progressive, [and] leaps forward in the face [of] what seems like impossible odds," said NsΓ© Ufot, founder of the New South Super PAC.

2. What is the Atlanta Way?

From left, former Atlanta mayors Sam Massell, Ivan Allen, Jr. and Maynard Jackson speak with Boisfeuillet Jones, chairman of the Economic Opportunity Atlanta Board of Directors. Photo: Courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta Way started as a civic booster term. It dates to the 19th century, Timothy Crimmins, a Georgia State University urban history professor told Axios.

Flashback: In the early and mid-20th century, the Atlanta Way meant white elected officials lobbying Black civil rights leaders and ministers to support candidates or ballot questions β€” though that relationship was imbalanced.

  • For example, in exchange for the Black community's support of an infrastructure bond to fix the city's white schools, white leaders agreed to include funding for the city's first Black high school, Crimmins told Axios.
  • "There was that history of little things [for Black folks] being provided … so white folks could get big things done," Crimmins said.

Over time, the concept also came to refer to a way of sharing your perspective with someone who may have the opposite view "and coming to some mutual agreement that's mutually beneficial," council member Michael Julian Bond told Axios.

  • Bond said in more recent times, the Atlanta Way "has taken hold and has resulted in progress … generally for everyone in the city."

Threat level: That disappeared with the debate over "Cop City," Bond said, where "there's been no real communication," Bond told Axios.

  • "They just kind of show up, and they expect you to know, presumably, from the comments that they make, everything about their issue and that's not always the case," said Bond.

3. Can the Atlanta Way survive?

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photos: United States Information Agency/PhotoQuest/Getty Images

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin told Axios that the Atlanta Way has always included navigating protests and divisions among the city's business community, civic leaders and elected officials.

  • For example, not everybody was on board with school desegregation, the Atlanta Student Movement and the election of Maynard Jackson Jr. as the first Black mayor.

Atlanta is no longer the city it was 30 years ago due to the growth it has seen since the 1996 Olympics "so it's impossible for whatever structures were in place to continue to work in the 21st century," the former mayor said.

  • "We have to recreate how we communicate and how we work together or oppose each other and debate each other," she told Axios.

The bottom line: King Williams said adherents to the Atlanta Way have to understand that the younger generation "isn't caring about your table if your table isn't serving their needs."

  • "Change is hard for a lot of people, but if they don't, then they run the risk of being the old institution … and really putting themselves in the position where they are on the defensive," he said.

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4. πŸ₯³ Weekend events around ATL

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Monday is Juneteenth. Sunday is Father's Day.

  • There's a lot going on, Atlanta. Here's some of it:

πŸŽ‰ The city's Juneteenth Parade kicks off tomorrow at 10am from Liberty Plaza featuring the mayor and other officials.

  • There's also a music festival in Centennial Olympic Park all weekend and a 5K. (Details)

πŸ‘€ The Atlanta History Center has a whopping lineup on Sunday.

  • Highlights include games, yoga and food on Swan Lawn, a pop-up exhibit on the now-demolished Black Buckhead neighborhood of Bagley Park, and a panel of descendants of expelled Black residents of Forsyth County. (Details)

🎢 The Atlanta NAACP hosts a free outdoor concert in downtown East Point tomorrow. (Details)

🌷 Juneteenth at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on Monday afternoon features music and drinks. (Details)

✊🏽 The Cobb County NAACP will host its 20th annual Juneteenth celebration on Marietta Square.

πŸͺ Father's Day cookie decorating at The Daily in Inman Park tonight. (Details)

πŸ₯ƒ Father's Day whiskey & cigar experience at a Smyrna speakeasy tonight and tomorrow. (Tickets)

πŸ” Father's Day Burgers and Brews at National Anthem in the Battery on Sunday. (Reservations)

A new career is waiting for you

πŸ’Ό Check out who's hiring now.

  1. Finance Manager at Equifax.
  2. Director of Marketing Technology at Koch.
  3. Digital Banking Sales Operations Manager (Atlanta/Hybrid) at NCR Corporation.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5.πŸ’™ Fatherly thoughts to go

Axios reader Lee D. with her Bruce Lee-loving dad from her kindergarten and doctoral graduations. Photo: Lee D.

"Remember Bruce Lee? He took different martial arts styles and made them his own. You can do the same in your career: You don't have to follow one method, use what works from all that you have learned."
β€” Lee D.'s dad's words of wisdom
"I told my kids that the way to take the fear out of life was to always be 100% prepared, and let the chips fall where they will. One is the best cornea surgeon in the Southeast and the other has been the top salesperson in every company she has worked for. It was my motto too."
β€” Donald L.'s words of wisdom for his own children

πŸ“† Kristal, Emma and Thomas remind you that we will be back in your inbox Tuesday after observing Juneteenth.

  • We hope you make the most of the weekend, Atlanta.

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Natasha Danielle Smith and Alex Perry.