Article submitted by Shannon G., Co-Founder of N.O.P.E
Virginia-Highland, like so many neighborhoods across Atlanta and the country, has a racial profiling problem, particularly on our online community forums. On Nextdoor, a social media site that purports to connect neighbors, people of color are criminalized regularly for offenses such as walking with a camera around their neck, circling the block in their vehicle, or as VHCA board member, Stefanie Roberts, experienced last summer, strolling through our neighborhood with an out of town guest. (For a deeper understanding of the effects of racial profiling, check out this article written by a local Atlanta teen)
After Stefanie bravely shared her disturbing encounter on Nextdoor, nine neighbors came together that very night to offer Stefanie, her husband and her 10-year-old son support. We heard her account first hand, and the group, the majority of whom were people of color, shared their own experiences of racism living in our predominantly white neighborhood.
From this spontaneous community meeting, Neighbors Organizing for Progress and Equity (N.O.P.E.) was born. N.O.P.E is a multi-racial group of neighbors whose mission is to promote and build authentic community in Virginia-Highland through the centering of equity and justice.
Our vision is to build towards a Virginia-Highland that seeks out and amplifies underrepresented voices in our community. To date, we have hosted a Get Out the Vote community event that helped elect two people of color to the VHCA for the first time in the board’s history, we’ve hosted an anti-bias training with the Anti-Defamation League and there is much more to come.
If you are interested in engaging with neighbors around issues of equity and justice in Virginia-Highland, please join us! You can find us on Facebook here or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.