President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to serve on the Democratic National Committee as vice chair of civic engagement and voter protection. The DNC will hold a vote on officers next week. In December, Bottoms turned down Biden’s offer to lead the Small Business Administration in his cabinet and reportedly declined an ambassadorship to the Bahamas.

Gov. Brian Kemp called for reforms in the state’s citizens arrest law, proposed a one-time $1,000 bonus for teachers, and tried to set a positive tone after a bruising year of politics and pandemic during his Jan. 14 State of the State address at the Capitol. Kemp’s call for reform of the 150-year-old citizens arrest law that led to the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery is sure to be divisive with some Republicans – who are already unhappy with how Kemp handled election turmoil surrounding President Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden – and with Democrats who want the law repealed. Kemp did not mention voter reform, which is expected to be the hot button agenda item at this year’s Georgia Legislative session, but is on record as supporting photo ID for absentee voting. Kemp said 283,000 Georgians had received the COVID-19 vaccine, which was cause for hope. “There are 283,000 reasons for hope and optimism,” he said. “We will get through this. We will get there, together.”

Basil Watson’s sculpture of Martin Luther King. Jr. (Photo courtesy City of Atlanta)

A new bronze sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. was unveiled Jan. 14 at the intersecton of Northside Drive and MLK Jr. Drive. The installed, called “Hope Moving Forward,” is part of the city’s MLK Innovation Corridor Project. The artwork is the first of seven installations commissioned to honor the legacy and global influence of the civil rights leader. Created by the internationally renowned sculptor Basil Watson, the monument pays tribute to Dr. King’s walk toward peace and equality for all people. Watson’s winning sculpture proposal was selected from a national call for artists released in January 2018, by a selection committee which included representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA), MARTA, and Clark Atlanta University.