Old Fourth Ward Councilman Kwanza Hall: Mayor Campaign and Decriminalizing Weed

By: Ashley Nelson

As the race for mayor gets testy among candidates, Kwanza Hall remains focused. In continuation of Newsmakers Live! tenth-anniversary election series, Hall wants to present a better image to the community.

Old Fourth Ward councilman and mayoral candidate, Hall have a better vision for the future of Atlanta. Despite some of his fellow candidates running because they are ‘anti-Reed’, Atlanta’s current mayor. Hall focused is on the people of Atlanta. He told NML’s moderator, it is time for the people’s turn. Whether the mayor is black, white, gay, or straight, they need to be able to get the job done, and Hall believes he is the candidate to do so.

“I cannot do the stuff that I want to do as a councilman and feel there’s no one in the position to do so other than me,” Hall said.

Atlanta is becoming a melting pot. Hall has gained support from both millennials and seniors. While everybody focuses on one camp or community, Hall is running for all of Atlanta. Atlanta should be a city where everyone can find a place. Hall wants the same amenities in Buckhead to be offered in the West End as well.

Mixed-income communities can exist. Atlanta is continuing to rise, and Hall wants to make sure everyone is included. Welcoming and inclusive, his goal is to unify a diverse group of citizens. Hall believes Atlanta can be a city where everyone can find a place.

Hall understands being mayor is a difficult job, something he had not realized until he looked behind the scenes. Hall gives Atlanta’s mayor Kasim Reed a high rating in getting things done. It may not be prioritized the way some of us may want, but he got it done. The city cannot tolerate a mayor with a good talk game. Atlanta needs someone that cannot only get things done but is engaged in the community.

“We are still living in a society with implicit bias and racial undertone. It is out there, and we have to accept that,” Hall said.

In a city run by black elected officials, one-third of the city living in poverty is black. What have these officials done for the black community? Hall believes the next mayor of Atlanta should be in touch and on the ground with the people, which is why he pushed the legislation to decriminalize marijuana.

Marijuana has been a gateway drug into the criminal justice system for most adolescents and teens. Hall has pushed for marijuana legislation to decriminalize the drug. By making weed a non-jailable offense less than an ounce, Hall hopes to decrease the number of juveniles entering the criminal system.

Atlanta is home to many great civil rights leaders. The next mayor of Atlanta should honor and respect the legacy of Atlanta. Hall wants to give the power back to the people of Atlanta.