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Dear Decaturish – In support of District 2 Decatur School Board candidate Carmen Sulton

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Dear Decaturish – In support of District 2 Decatur School Board candidate Carmen Sulton

Carmen Sulton is a candidate for the City Schools of Decatur School Board district two seat. Photo submitted by Carmen Sulton.
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Decaturish invited all candidates running in the Nov. 2 municipal election to submit up to three letters on their behalf. One of the letters could be written by the candidate. Here are the letters in support of District 2 Decatur School Board candidate Carmen Sulton.

Dear Decaturish,

As both CSD parents and medical professionals, we endorse Dr. Carmen Sulton for the CSD board. From years of working alongside her in Emergency Departments in Atlanta, we know CSD needs her medical expertise and passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe she will help our school system as it continues to navigate the pandemic while it provides excellent educational opportunities for all students.

As a pediatric emergency physician, she is decisive and cool under pressure. She is able to carefully appraise many variables in order to select the best course of action for her patients and then communicate that plan with compassion and care. The needs of a community and school system can be similarly complicated, especially in light of the current pandemic, and we are confident that Dr. Sulton will bring the same qualities to the decisions she will make as a member of the school board. She has treated children with COVID and understands the risk it poses to them and can balance the need to keep students and staff safe with ongoing learning priorities. The CSD board needs her medical expertise as it interprets and applies various public health recommendations.

Dr. Sulton wants to make sure all voices in CSD are heard. She plans to advocate for students with special learning needs. As the parents of a student with Dyslexia, we struggled to get a proper diagnosis, adequate remediation, and appropriate accommodations for our child. Having an advocate such as Dr. Sulton on the board will be hugely impactful.

Dr. Sulton is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion with a proven track record of advocating for underrepresented medical students in her work with the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians and with the Medical Association of Georgia. She will bring this expertise and commitment to her work with the CSD board. We are confident she can help assure the curriculum is free of racial and ethnic bias, and that our schools attract and retain teachers of color. Having schools that both represent and benefit from the strength of the diversity in our community is essential. She will amplify the voices of those who have been overwhelmed by the current system and the CSD board will greatly benefit from her knowledge and expertise in this area.

We’re proud to call Dr. Sulton a professional colleague, neighbor, and friend. We’re grateful for her willingness to serve the community because we believe she is uniquely qualified to be a CSD board member. We are excited about the future of CSD with her leadership.

– Marisa Wheatley BSN, RN, CPEN and Matthew Wheatley MD, FACEP

Dear Decaturish,

When my family moved to Georgia seven years ago, we hoped to move to an inclusive town with progressive education so that our children would grow up with a sense of belonging – something I lacked growing up in rural Virginia.   However, within two months of moving to the City of Decatur, I was greeted with a “Ni Hao” by a neighbor when I was handing out Halloween candy in front of my home and also with comments like, “your English is so good!”  I soon realized that this town wasn’t quite what I had hoped for.  Since those initial encounters, my children, too, have experienced cultural invisibility and lack of awareness from their communities.  Although these minor incidents may seem harmless, they are rooted in a deep seeded and systemic ideology that Asian Americans will never be Americans.

Invisibility is a theme in Asian American history.  We were deemed unassimilable, uncouth, and immoral, then as a political ploy, the rhetoric changed almost instantaneously to the “good,” model minorities.  One doesn’t have to dig deep in our country’s history to see evidence of these.  Oppression and accomplishments of Asian Americans are largely unknown to most Americans.  Children rarely learn that the first woman of color in Congress was an Asian American woman, and heroes like Larry Itliong or 442nd Infantry Battalion aren’t celebrated.  When students learn about immigration, they learn of Ellis Island but not Angel Island.  Japanese American incarceration, treatment of Chinese and Indian migrant workers in the South post Civil War, Exclusion Acts, etc are not taught.

Normalizing people like my family, who my neighbors may find exotic, is important to me.  I want my children and their friends to know the rich histories of all Americans so that they can take pride in their heritage and appreciate one another.

This is why I am voting for Carmen Sulton.  As I became active in my children’s schools to normalize the histories and cultures of the “othered,” Carmen reached out to me as a DEI leader long before she registered as a school board candidate to provide advice and assistance.  She was also the only candidate who directly contacted me, affirming the need for a curriculum revision that will teach accurate histories of all people.  Carmen simply cares and will do what it takes to bring change – look at the formation of CSD Black Parents Alliance, her activism in Beacon Hill Black Alliance, and her work in CSD Covid mitigation.  Friends of mine who have intersected professionally with her have only affirmed her leadership qualities. She also knows what it takes to advocate for one’s child.  With her passion, expertise, and dedication, I have faith that she will work tirelessly to ensure all children in City Schools of Decatur are visible.

– Weonhee Anne Shin (community organizer and CSD parent)

Dear Decaturish,

Our community is currently at a crossroads – as the school board elections draw nearer, we are faced with a question about what kind of school system we want to be. Issues of access, equity, and inclusivity are central in how we define our community’s values and it is our responsibility as members of this community to elect a candidate who will ensure quality education for all students in the district. That candidate is Carmen Sulton.

Our names are Koan Roy-Meighoo, Julian Fortuna, Genesis Reddicks, Daxton Pettus, Kayla Evans, and Jessie Montgomery. You’ve probably seen our names before. Be it confederate monument removal, public art installation, curriculum reform, or any other community effort, we have been working to make our schools and city a more inclusive and accepting space. So, as leaders in the school system who are dedicated to promoting student voices and fighting for an equitable and just education across the community, we urge you to vote for Carmen Sulton as the District 2 School Board Member.

Dr. Sulton has made including student perspectives a clear part of her platform. True to her word, she reached out to us back in May (before her campaign officially started) to learn about our perspectives as students in the school system. Dr. Sulton asked us directly what we would like to see in a school board candidate. This initiative and desire to be connected with students is rare in a school board candidate – while we’ve heard vague promises to include and platform students from many candidates in the past, from the moment we met with her, we knew Dr. Sulton was fully committed to supporting the student body. Having met on multiple occasions, we can confidently say that she cares about our experiences and understands that good leadership in the district is about bringing more voices to the table.

As students, we are the people who are most affected by the school board’s decisions. As students, we’ve had to face the consequences of poor leadership in a systematically flawed institution. However, we have also directly experienced the influence that good leadership at the school board level can have on our schools’ environments. That is why we know Carmen Sulton is the right choice for District Two’s School Board seat. She has repeatedly proven that she will listen to her constituents and act in their interests through her leadership in the community. And while Koan, Julian, Genesis, and Daxton graduated this May from the CSD system, we are proud that we can leave our school district in the hands of someone like Dr. Sulton – someone who is forever committed to helping those most vulnerable in our community and uplifting their voices.

Sincerely,

Koan Roy-Meighoo, Julian Fortuna, Genesis Reddicks, Daxton Pettus, Kayla Evans, and Jessie Montgomery

More information about voting in the Nov. 2 election: 

Editor’s note: Decaturish and the Tucker Observer have published an Elections Guide, a 76-page e-edition featuring Q&As with nearly every candidate running in our communities. To see it, click here. This special e-edition features candidates running for public office in Decatur, Avondale Estates, Atlanta City Council District 5, Clarkston Tucker and Stone Mountain.  There is a PDF version of this, which you can see by clicking here, but due to the format of this e-edition, we strongly encourage you to use the e-reader version.

All elections coverage can be found at Decaturishvotes.com and Tuckerobservervotes.com.  

Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting will begin on Oct. 12 and will end on Oct. 29. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 4. To register to vote, click here.

To see a list of important dates in the 2021 election year, click here.

Voters in DeKalb County are eligible to apply for an absentee ballot as of Aug. 16. 

To apply for an absentee ballot:

— Visit the Georgia Secretary of State website.

—  Complete the absentee ballot application using the state’s official paper form. Use black or blue ink only.

Applications can be mailed to the county elections office at this address: DeKalb County Election office, 4380 Memorial Drive, Decatur, GA 30032-1239.

Applications can also be submitted by fax, 404-298-4038, or email, [email protected]

Voters may send an absentee ballot request for multiple people who live in the same household in the same envelope or email.

If an absentee ballot is not mailed to you, call DeKalb Elections office, 404-298-4020. You may still vote in person, either early or on Election Day.

An absentee ballot application must be received by Oct. 22.

In accordance with SB202, a new voting bill signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in March, a copy of a voter’s ID is required to apply for an absentee ballot. A Georgia driver’s license, Georgia state ID, Georgia voter card, U.S. Passport, U.S. military ID, employee ID issued by any branch of the federal or state government, tribal ID, or a document verifying a voter’s name and address – including a paycheck, utility bill, or bank statement – are accepted forms of ID.

Early voting begins Oct. 12 and ends Oct. 29. The hours for early voting are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be weekend early voting on Oct. 16, 17, 23 and 24. Call your elections office for hours.

Beginning Oct. 12, you can participate in early voting at the following locations: 

– Bessie Branham Recreation Center (2051 Delano Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30317)

– Lynwood Recreation Center (3360 Osborne Road NE, Brookhaven, GA 30319)

– Berean Christian Church – Family Life Center (2197 Young Road, Stone Mountain, GA 30088)

– DeKalb Voter Registration & Elections Office (4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032)

– Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library (5234 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084)

– Stonecrest Library (3123 Klondike Road, Stonecrest, GA 30038)

– County Line-Ellenwood Library (4331 River Road, Ellenwood, GA 30294)

– Dunwoody Library (5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road., Dunwoody, GA 30338)

For the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding early voting times and locations, visit Decaturishvotes.com and Tuckerobservervotes.com or call 404-298-4020.  

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