City Council candidate and activist Marie Mott discusses changes that need to come and her involvement with the Black Lives Matter movement
The winds of change have begun to blow through Chattanooga as citizens continue to protest and fight against racial injustice. One of the loudest voices for change in our city, not just now but for years now, has been Marie Mott. By working alongside local creative leaders she is restructuring Chattanooga to be a place where anyone can feel safe and valued.
Marie grew up in East Chattanooga and has seen firsthand the damage that discrimination, gentrification, and a lack of support for minority communities can do. Seeing this happen led her to decide to become an activist for her community and she is now seeking to become the city council member for District 8.
When the protests began, Marie quickly became involved. She soon went from an attendant to an organizer. By working with local leaders like Cameron “C-Grimey” Williams, Steve Bedford, Charles “Interstate Tax” Toney Jr., and Brie Stevens.
“We started educating protestors on issues such as the city budget, the demands we are seeking, and how citizens can become engaged civically,” Marie said.
Already changes in the cities mindset towards racial inequality can be seen and citizens have united to make Chattanooga better. The greatest visual representation of these efforts has to be the beautiful #BLACKLIVESMATTER mural that has been created on MLK Boulevard by Rise Chattanooga, The Artist Seven, and C-Grimey. Local businesses and creators have been actively supporting the protests by supplying them or creating works for them, like the 423 Protest Playlist that local hip-hop artists have made. There is still much work to be done though.
Marie especially wants to see marginalized communities in Chattanooga finally gain representation in local governance. By elevating people from these communities to power in government, business, and local arts, she believes that we can bring equality to citizens all over the city.
“We have to remove racial and class barriers. Good ideas can come from anywhere and anyone and our underserved and overlooked communities deserve to be respected and represented.”
Marie says that Chattanoogans hoping to help in creating change should dedicate themselves to learning more about how the city operates. Educating citizens on topics like the police budget, homeless housing programs, Youth and Family Development programs, and other aspects of the city and its social services is essential right now. She asks for citizens to take an active part in engaging in local civics by attending City Council, School Board, and County Commission meetings, while also demanding for the resignation of harmful local leaders and using their ability to vote to put officials in office who will better represent the people.
“We need to ask the question of if those who are considered Community Leaders are really chosen by the people, and if so, why they are standing on the sidelines during this.”