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Letter from the editor
Hey! We haven’t met. I’m Christina Lee, contributing editor at Canopy Atlanta.
Before CA and 285 South joined forces earlier this year, our respective missions as independent journalism outlets couldn’t have been more aligned. I learned this when I joined CA last year, and the team would share Sophia Qureshi’s stories for 285 South as examples of thoughtful, community-centered journalism.
So far, CA has produced four magazine-style community issues on specific neighborhoods in the five-country metro area. One of those neighborhoods is Forest Park, which 285 South has helped us continue to cover since the issue debuted in 2022.
The stories we produce are collaborative with the residents the stories cover, from start to finish. CA’s journalism begins with community listening, where residents tell us which issues to prioritize in our coverage. CA then pays a community editorial board of residents to finalize story topics, and trains residents as editorial fellows to report these stories with experienced journalists.
I’m excited to see what comes next from this partnership, now that CA and 285 South’s mission is a shared one. As Sophia recently told Atlanta magazine about the state of local journalism: “We need each other … and we should work together and help each other grow.”
READ MORE FROM CANOPY ATLANTA
Can Forest Park keep its Hispanic residents? That may depend on police.
In recent years, Forest Park’s Hispanic population dropped by 10 percentage points. For some Hispanic businesses and immigrants without legal status, Forest Park’s prior policing reputation kept them away.
Two of the reporters of this story, Rachel McBride and Angie Tran, are Canopy Atlanta Fellows, who are paid and trained to report on their communities alongside experienced journalists.
Forest Park’s Vietnamese population represents three-quarters of its Asian residents. Despite language barriers and hardships along the way, that generation who fled as refugees and emigrants would open up many of the businesses, nail salons, and restaurants that now dot Jonesboro Road.
“I see you look like Asian people. I say, ‘Oh, you Vietnamese?’ They say, ‘Oh, I’m Vietnamese.’ I’m real happy. ‘Come to my house. Have lunch. Have dinner.’” — Larry Nguyen, founder of the Vietnamese Association South Atlanta
Canopy Atlanta Listens: Lakewood Heights
Before Canopy Atlanta could begin covering the Lakewood Heights neighborhood in earnest, we first connected with community members to help set priorities, by way of short online surveys and in-depth conversations. This community listening report breaks down what over 50 community members had to say.
“I think it would be good to have more resources for the disabled community, and the resources that are available could be more visible—not just housing-related, but also related to wellness. There are resources, but they are not visible and not freely accessible, especially to communities of color.” — Lakewood Heights resident