Georgia Tech alumni Andre Dickens took the oath of office at his alma mater on Monday afternoon becoming the 61st Mayor of Atlanta.
During the afternoon inauguration ceremony at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the Atlanta City Council President, Atlanta City Council members and Atlanta Municipal Court Judges also took their oaths of office.
New City Council President Doug Shipman told Dickens that “we on the council are ready to work with you to build a bright future for our community.”
“Embracing our future requires us to embrace each other,” Shipman said. “Now is the time to attack our problems, not one another. Let us be known by what we do, not by faith and words alone.”
After taking the oath of office, Dickens gave a rousing speech about his plans for the city, including being “laser focused on reducing crime with a particular emphasis on balancing safety and justice.”
“First of all, as your mayor and with your help, I want to make sure our city is safe from Bankhead to Buckhead. I want our city to be a place where little kids can play without being afraid of getting shot by a random bullet. Where women can stop at a gas station and pump a few gallons of gas without fear of physical intimidation. Where elderly people feel empowered to come out of their homes and can enjoy a walk in the park on a sunny day.
Dickens said the city will “beat back the scourge of crime” through his SAFE Streets Plan, including hiring 250 new police officers by the end of the year.
The new mayor also addressed the need for more affordable housing, helping the homeless, and equitable transportation. “We will add bike lanes, sidewalks, complete streets, and yes, rail on the BeltLine,” Dickens promised.
He also encouraged the city’s growing technology community to help make sure all Atlantans are equally connected.
“As you know, I am a Georgia Tech engineer with plenty of respect for technology, and I want our city to be a shining light for what technology can mean for equity, inclusion and democracy,” Dickens said. “Toward that end, I am calling on the technology and telecommunication industries to join the city in stamping out the digital divide and bringing the advantages of a connected city to each and every resident.”
Dickens also addressed the Buckhead City movement, using a Biblical tale of Nehemiah, who inspired people to help rebuild the infrastructure of Jerusalem.
“They chose to work together to accomplish difficult tasks. They chose to unify and not divide. And we need to choose the same. We don’t need separate cities. We must be one city with one bright future,” he said.
He continued: “I’ve told you before that I draw circles, I don’t draw lines to divide us. And I’ll tell you now that I don’t want any lines dividing this great city. We need to believe in the power of drawing circles and coming together to move Atlanta, and I mean all of Atlanta, to a brighter future.”