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Officials, Experts Take on Environmental Justice at South Fulton Symposium

April 22, Earth Day, will mark the inaugural Georgia Environmental Education and Awareness Symposium.

Advocate Mandisha A. Thomas and State Representative Debra Bazemore are at the helm of the day-long event that will bring together state and local elected officials, environmental experts and community stakeholders to tackle quality of life issues.

The agenda includes a Legislators’ Roundtable and Mayors’ Roundtable. Confirmed participants include: Mayor William “Bill” Edwards of South Fulton, Mayor Alan Hallman of Hapeville, Mayor Jack Longino of College Park and Mayor Tom Reed of Chattahoochee Hills.

The event will also feature panel discussions moderated by environmental consultant Al Bartell on urban farming, green infrastructure, climate change, waste management best practices, water and air quality and smart city solutions.

Confirmed guest speakers include: Laura Turner Seydel, chairperson, Captain Planet Foundation; Hilary King, director of special projects, Community Farmer’s Markets; Amber Suitt, director of programs, Georgia Organics; Gerald McDowell, executive director, Aerotropolis Atlanta CIDs; Michael Snipes, director, Laurens County Solid Waste Management Authority; and Roy Taylor, chair, Greening Georgia, Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Willie Miller, owner of Miller City Farm, will lead a discussion among South Fulton area farmers. Additional speakers will be announced in the weeks leading up to the event.

“The symposium is a collaborative effort to usher in a new era of proactivity in how we tackle environmental issues in our community,” said Thomas, a healthcare consultant and the symposium’s founder. “It’s also a forum to bring policymakers and the community together with experts to learn best practices and get insight into innovative ways to improve our quality of life.”

Residents of cities in South Fulton County have been vocal about the impact of the logistics industry in their communities. A recent landfill fire has highlighted other issues plaguing homeowners, schools and farmers in the area. Rep. Bazemore, a member of the Georgia Natural Resources Committee, says that the landfill fire has emphasized the importance of partnerships at the state and local level.

“We all have access to different resources,” said Rep. Bazemore. “It’s important that as we resolve the landfill fire, that the conversations around related issues doesn’t end. This event is a step toward promoting ongoing dialog and collaboration, as well as toward creating preventative policies that safeguard the health and welfare of citizens in the South Fulton region.”

The Georgia Environmental Education and Awareness Symposium will take place from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel at 3520 Desert Drive. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required. A complimentary lunch will be served.

The symposium is sponsored by Golden Gate Health Care Resources, Inc. in partnership with State Representative Debra Bazemore. Additional sponsors include WalMart and Greystone Power. Additional partners include the South Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Organics, Aerotropolis Atlanta CIDs and Laurens County Solid Waste Management Authority. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and Greening Georgia will participate as exhibitors.

Registration is now open. For free tickets, visit

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