The 14th Annual Reverend Joseph E. Lowery Lecture Series on Civic Engagement was held Monday, February 23, 2015, at Therrell High School in southwest Atlanta. Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell delivered the keynote address for some 500 Atlanta Public Schools seniors and guests. The event was part of APS’ Black History Month celebration. The program’s namesake was not at the event. Reverend Lowery was recently hospitalized, with reports indicating that he was suffering from dehydration.

(Credit: Maria Boynton/CBS Local)

(Credit: Maria Boynton/CBS Local)

Mitchell told the students to “work hard and be prepared to compete.” But, it was during the question and answer period, which included APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen and Board of Education Chairman Courtney English, that Mitchell was asked a hot-button item by a 17 year old student from Grady High School. Young Keegan Hasson wanted to know about the city’s plans to pay APS the millions of dollars owed in reference to the BeltLine. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has refused to hand over deeds, as requested by APS in order to bring in revenue, saying he is using them in negotiations over the estimated $13.5 million dollars owed to APS.

Listen to Mitchell’s speech followed by questions from students, including Hasson, and my discussion with Hasson.

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