Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced an effort to curb teens from selling water at intersections and off-ramps that has led to violent encounters with motorists.
Bottoms said in a press release that the city, Atlanta Police Department (APD), and local community advocacy groups have formed a partnership to to address the issue. APD will be focusing on areas where the so-called “water boys” sell and “will not allow dangerous activity of any kind – including running out in the street,” according to the press release.
“We appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit of youth who are selling water to motorists,” Bottoms said in a statement. “But we have seen an increase in unsafe and violent activity in some locations and cannot allow it to continue. It’s going to take a village and we are working with our partners to provide outreach and resources to these young people to help them gain access to job opportunities, workforce training, and educational programs.”
APD, community advocates and support groups are engaging youth who are selling water on Atlanta streets to direct them to safer and more beneficial opportunities.
Earlier this month, Bottoms issued an administrative order to convene an Advisory Council comprised of community members and partners to develop strategies to help promote youth entrepreneurship within the city.
The Advisory Council will report its recommendations to the mayor on July 31.
The press release said Bottoms’ administration is also working with Invest Atlanta through Students to Startups, to expose Atlanta-based students (from Georgia State University, Morehouse, Spelman, Clark-Atlanta, Emory, SCAD, and Georgia Tech) to entrepreneurship and help meet the talent needs of 20 Atlanta-based startups. In addition to working with the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department (AFRD) to establish the AFRD Delayed Entry Program in local high schools.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.