Ted Terry on how a hyper-diverse community becomes inclusive
He is in his 30s. He has been called a hipster. And he is the mayor who has been putting a small town just outside of Atlanta on the map. Ted Terry shot to fame via an episode of season 2 of the hugely successful Netflix show Queer Eye. during which he enjoyed a styling makeover from the show’s team of experts, the Fab Five. Interestingly, one of the five (Karamo Brown) is considered the culture guy of that show. So it is only appropriate that the actual Culture Guy also sat down with Mayor Ted for a talk.
Ted is the mayor of Clarkston, GA – a city some people call the “Ellis Island of the South” and the most diverse square mile in the entire United States. Located about half an hour from the heart of Atlanta, this small working-class town in Georgia is not only hyper-diverse, it is also quite an inclusive community in a region which outsider wouldn’t immediately associate with these qualities.
The main reason Clarkston became so diverse is the fact that in the past 25 years more than 40,000 refugees from all over the world have been resettled here. They come from various corners of the globe. Among the biggest groups in recent years are people from Syria, Somalia, Vietnam, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Congo. The town is now home to residents from 40 different nations, speaking 60 languages.
How do you manage to not only find new homes and work for thousands of displaced people, but also make them integral to the town’s sense of identity? The Culture Guy sat down with Mayor Ted to find out, at Clarkston’s “media hub” – the Refuge Coffee Co.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
from The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus
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“Duum Diip” – Artist: Sepalot – Label: Eskapaden – Copyright control
“Rainbows – Live” – Artist: Sepalot – Label: Eskapaden – Copyright control
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