ADL Southeast’s first ever Concert Against Hate Nov. 14 sent a message loud and clear – Atlanta stands together against hate. Emceed by Killer Mike of Run the Jewels fame, the night featured professional artists and students alike, sharing a musical message of unity.
“I want to appreciate not only the ADL, but Atlanta United and Atlanta, Georgia, for being a city that will not embrace hate,” Mike said in his introduction. “Sometimes I get discouraged because I see hate from the right, hate from the left, hate from the back, hate from the front. Is anyone else getting tired of hate?” he asked.
The event honored Atlanta United and Arthur Blank, who received the ADL’s Torch of Liberty Award in September. Two videos last week showed Atlanta United players sharing their messages of inclusion and speaking out against hate.
Allison Padilla-Goodman, regional director of ADL Southeast, took to the stage alongside representatives from Georgia Equality and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta. She discussed the ADL’s #HateFreeGA campaign.
“Georgia is one of five states without hate crimes legislation,” Padilla-Goodman said, drawing boos from the crowd.
Students of all ages from Atlanta Drum Academy kicked off the night’s entertainment, marching down the aisles between the seats and putting on a percussive display.
Following their performance, Dr. Meria Carstarphen, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, spoke next to a poster adorned with colorful cut-out paper handprints, each sharing the thoughts of one of her students. Some were messages of self-worth, others of the importance of speaking out against hate.
She also introduced the next three acts, all composed of students from different schools in the district. First up was Southbound, from North Atlanta High School, who brought a 70s vibe, playing Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.”
Next, the fusion group from Mays High School performed the soulful “SoBeautiful,” by Musiq Soulchild. Finally, Bad to the Bone, Booker T. Washington High School’s award-winning dance group, got in formation aside Carstarphen, who helped kick off the routine with a few moves of her own.
While the night was no doubt a fun and lively affair, there was also a weight to the message, as concert co-chairs Liz Price and CJ Johnson shared the stage with Sydney Levine, a seventh grader who has been battling anti-Semitism in her school and the challenges of others being unwilling to speak up.
“If I hadn’t said something, no one would have,” Sydney said of her process of escalating the situation with her school district with the ADL’s help. She concluded with a quote, “‘Don’t be a bystander; be an upstander.’”
Price and Johnson spoke on some of the very real incidents of discrimination and hate in Georgia, especially those going on in schools — from swastikas on lockers to slurs written in bathroom stalls — and kicked off the text-in fundraising drive for the night, which was tracked in real-time on a screen over the stage.
The goal was $25,000, which a benefactor had agreed to match, but within mere minutes that goal was already well within reach. In total, the event raised nearly $500,000, Padilla-Goodman said.
Then came the musicians, first Mereba, an up-and-coming musician who was raised in Atlanta. She played songs from her newly released first album “The Jungle Is The Only Way Out.”
Along with her own music, she also played Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” describing it as “the other side of the coin, hope.”
“Won’t you help to sing these songs of freedom? ‘Cause all I ever have redemption songs,” the audience sang along.
The New Orleans-based Galactic headlined the evening, featuring Angelica “Jelly” Joseph. Bringing an upbeat, jazzy-funk sound, those in the crowd were on their feet dancing.
As the trumpets blared and the bass thudded, the point was unmistakable: Atlanta doesn’t tolerate hatred.
- Eddie Samuels
- ADL Southeast
- ADL Concert Against Hate
- Local News
- Allison Padilla-Goodman
- Liz Price
- CJ Johnson
- Run the Jewels
- Killer Mike
- Arthur Blank
- Atlanta United
- Dr. Meria Carstarphen
- Atlanta Public Schools
- Atlanta Drum Academy
- North Atlanta High School
- Fleetwood Mac
- The Chain
- Bad to the Bone
- Booker T. Washington High School
- Sydney Levine
- Mays High School
- Angelica "Jelly" Joseph