Here’s what it’s like to be the underdog in Atlanta’s mayoral race

There was no oratory. It was the definition of a team win.

Throughout a hard-fought campaign, Atlanta’s right-wing state representative, Alisha Gray, spent much of her time touting the city’s ability to shrug off the tornado that had struck in April, rising above the natural disaster and focusing on positive changes that could start immediately once the dust settled. The shooting death of police officer and student De’Marquise Elkins, along with the city’s handling of the crime spree, was another reason.

She beat Deborah Gerald in the general election. Gray was about to become mayor.

But the city’s grappled with other, trickier issues—such as the stain of racism in its political culture, which gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement—as well as continuing crime. Atlanta’s white power brokers and corporate elites now needed the city’s black leaders to also champion racial inclusion, not just economic diversification.

For the underdog aspiring to the city’s highest office, this would mean redoubling their efforts to bridge the gap between the corridors of power. No first steps would be given without a rigorous discussion. Who did they support? Did they truly support candidates of color? How best to counter the systemic violence that’s unleashed on black communities and against them in every form imaginable?

Here was another chance for native son Andre Dickens to show his brand of hope. For what it’s worth, he always seemed to succeed where others failed: In the backseat of his parents’ Chevy Impala, touring Overtown when he was just a little boy.

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