“The election results were all over the place with no clear message being sent from the public,” Bowen told the AJC. “There was no visible anti-incumbent message in the votes cast and the publicized endorsements did not seem to carry any weight. The voters made up their own minds. “
I disagree. I think there is a message in here. A very sad message. The message that the racially divisive politics of old are still very strongly at play in DeKalb and voters still harbor mistrust and antipathy toward "others" in the system. Sending Sarah, Jay and possibly Zepora back to the board is definitely a "statement". And sending Dr. Walker back is an endorsement of his racial perspective. He openly admitted his own racially-motivated thinking when he stated at a board meeting, “I am a very, very race-conscious person,” Walker said in October 2009. “I will never ever try to lead you to believe that I am race-neutral. I see color. I appreciate color. I celebrate color and I love color.”
Sarah Copelin-Wood inserted herself into the redistricting task force discussions, injecting a race-baited argument and pitting schools in her own district against each other. As the head of the task force reported , “As a board member, she [Copelin-Wood] has the responsibility to stay neutral and not make this a racial issue because it was not a racial issue,” Coward said. “But she kept making comments about black and white task force members.”
In fact, one email campaign in support of Sarah Copelin-Wood summed up the anti-"north" racially divisive sentiment quite honestly -
Do not be so "gullible" to allow these groups, mostly comprised by Dunwoody, "to tell you how to think," "what to think" and "what to do." You just try to attempt to go to Dunwoody and tell them "how to think" or who to "vote for" - Dunwoody would object your presence and reject your opinion. If the people in Dunwoody wanted to be a part of you, they would not have created their own city.I think Bowen is wrong - I think the voters of South DeKalb have sent a very strong message. The message so blatantly stated in the writers email above. The message states that South DeKalb continues to feel as if they are fighting some kind of power in North DeKalb and the only people who can save them are Copelin-Wood, Cunningham and Walker. To me, this is a very sad statement that the racial divide has not healed much at all in Georgia.
At least the people in District 7 will open their minds to the idea that a younger, well-educated African-American woman, a woman with a degree in mathematics, a certified public accountant, could quite possibly actually represent them well in today's world. Maybe, just maybe, this one district will be the one to take a chance and step into the light of the new millennium by voting for an African-American success story - Donna Edler - a rational woman who exemplifies the very level of educational success that we want our school board to ensure for all of our students.
Although voters turned their backs on the wonderfully qualified Kirk Nooks in District 5, I hold out this hope that the voters of District 7 will rise to the challenge, stand tall and proudly vote in faith that we can move forward together - offering professional representation for their district - with confidence in a future where race is no longer a "card"–it's simply the color of one's skin. I hope District 7 voters realize that ensuring that all of the children in DeKalb are well-educated and that the tax money spent on this endeavor finds it way to the students in the classroom is the real task of a school board.