Fair Trade Focus: Clarkston, GA
Fair Trade Atlanta is excited to announce an exciting update to our “strategy” to end the use of slave-made goods in our city. As residents of Atlanta know, the city has several incorporated “cities” within it. For example, our amazing partner Bond Organic Market is located in Atlanta, but also in College Park. One of those cities is Clarkston, GA. Clarkston is an amazing place- the most diverse square mile in the world. We’ll let the New York Times explain why:
Diversity came to Clarkston like a bolt from the blue. The community, just east of the Atlanta Perimeter and 11 miles from downtown, was settled by white farmers and railroad workers in the late 1800s.
Clarkston remained rural and mostly white until the 1970s, when developers began to build apartment complexes for middle-class workers drawn to Atlanta after the international airport here opened. In the next decade, many of those workers began to move to new suburbs farther from town. Vacancies increased, rents fell and crime rose.
In the 1990s, aid agencies that contract with the federal government to resettle refugees pegged Clarkston as the perfect place for these vulnerable newcomers. The town had cheap housing: those empty apartments. It had public transportation — few refugees could afford cars. And Clarkston was within commuting distance of downtown Atlanta’s booming economy.
From 1996 to 2001, more than 19,000 refugees were resettled in Georgia, many in Clarkston or surrounding DeKalb County.
The change to Clarkston was profound. The schools became crowded with children who spoke little English. Locals learned not to drive down Indian Creek Drive on Friday afternoons because of traffic from Friday prayers at the mosque. A third to a half of Clarkston’s 7,100 residents are now foreign-born, most of them refugees.
All that to say, Clarkston is a perfect place for fair trade to thrive because many of its American business owners are social justice advocates, and many of its foreign-born business owners have seen how just labor practices are needed in their home countries.
So, due to a recent relationship developed with the mayor of Clarkston, we are launching a sub-campaign to get Clarkston declared a fair trade town before the whole city of Atlanta.
Once that occurs, we will continue to target Atlanta’s sub-cities until the whole city has a wide availability of ethically sourced products. We are excited to partake in this venture!