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Jabari Simama


Jabari Simama is an education and government consultant and a senior fellow with the Center for Digital Government. He served two terms on the Atlanta City Council, from 1987 to 1994; as deputy chief operating officer and chief of staff for DeKalb County, Ga., from 2009 to 2012; and as president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College from 2012 to 2018.

Simama received his bachelor's degree from the University of Bridgeport, his master's degree from Atlanta University and his Ph.D. from Emory University. He is the author of Civil Rights to Cyber Rights: Broadband & Digital Equality in the Age of Obama, published in 2009, and has been a columnist for Creative Loafing and Southwest Atlanta magazine and a feature writer for Atlanta magazine. He blogs at Jabari Simama Speaks.

A young state lawmaker’s life, dedicated to helping the most needy, was cut short by a white supremacist in a Charleston church. What happened there, in Buffalo and elsewhere is symbolic of a society corroding from inside out.
Our public education system is too focused on preparing students for four-year colleges. When an auto mechanic can pull down a six-figure salary, it’s clear that career and technical education should be getting a lot more support.
It started out as a grassroots medium for community speech, but now it’s struggling to survive. It needs a new platform that blends the best of its past with today’s technology.
Shouldn’t being able to live in an affordable, safe and sanitary home be considered a human right? There are several ways local leaders could attack the problem.
They’re criticized for failing to solve every problem that affects their constituents. But the discrimination and racism they face must be factored in, and they lack access to institutions that could strengthen their hand.
Elected office should be more than a steppingstone to higher office or wealth accumulation. Among other things, elected officials should respect their constituents and side with the underserved whose voices are rarely heard.
Professional teams that discriminate against coaches, players and others shouldn’t be getting taxpayer money that would be better spent on the real problems that need more public funding.
We need a holistic approach that not only gets firearms out of the hands of people with elevated risk of violence but also addresses issues such as income inequality, health disparities and poorly performing schools.
Things will not get better if those of us who see what is going down give in to fear. There are things elected officials and the public in general can do to safeguard our bedrock principles.
The standoff between Chicago’s mayor and teachers’ union is raising issues ranging from the effective use of federal funding to how much we really care about our front-line workers.