Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul attended one of three recent protests against racism and police brutality in his city’s downtown June 6, where he praised the activism and urged participation in a government-directed dialogue.

About 250 people attended the protest, held in a parking lot along Mount Vernon Highway opposite City Hall, according to the city. Paul and some City Council members attended and spoke to protesters.

Mayor Rusty Paul attends the June 6 protest. (City of Sandy Springs)

A brief video of the event posted on Facebook by the city shows Paul standing on a stepladder to address the crowd and pitch his recent idea of a citywide dialogue about racism. Part of that will be conducted by a group called Civic Dinners, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun later said.

Protesters in a parking lot near City Hall on June 6. (City of Sandy Springs)

“I’ve been in a lot of conversations where we talked about diversity, but everybody was the same color,” Paul said, noting the diversity of the protesters. He urged them to remain active by participating in his dialogue plan.

“I want to applaud you for being out here today,” he said. “I want to applaud your activism. I want to applaud your caring, your concern and your commitment. But don’t let it stop there. Take action.”

Another protest was held in the same area June 8 as part of a nationwide movement following the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minnesota last month as well as many other killings of black people around the nation, including Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.