THE WAY FORWARD: RACIAL EQUITY

Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim: Atlanta’s Chief Diversity Officer


As the head of the City of Atlanta’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion—Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim leads Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ mandate to create One Atlanta—a charge to become a world-class city by making Atlanta equitable for all.  

Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim pictured in front of a brick building wearing a sleeveless black top and pearls.

Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim 11MBA, chief equity officer for the City of Atlanta

Previously, Abdur-Rahim spent 17 years, most of them as CEO, at the Future Foundation; an organization dedicated to helping youth climb out of poverty through education. She ultimately helped more than 20,000 students in metropolitan Atlanta but having been disheartened by the systems in place working against the foundation’s efforts, she relishes her current role as a senior cabinet member in the City’s government, which provides a larger platform to make systemic change. 
 
“I now have the chance to address the institutions that have not historically invested in or supported people of color living in vulnerable communities,” Abdur-Rahim says.  
 
Through the One Atlanta vision, Abdur-Rahim and her colleagues collaborate across multiple sectors and help coordinate the sharing of resources to assist the most underserved—whether those communities include new immigrants, populations with disproportionately high environmental issues, or communities stricken with food scarcity.  
 
Collaboration, she says, is at the heart of the role and of One Atlanta’s mission to build an affordable, resilient, and equitable Atlanta. Her position also allows Abdur-Rahim to return to a lifelong passion of helping youth thrive through education. 
 
“None of the systemic issues will be changed overnight,” she says, referring to critical areas ranging from housing and economic development to criminal justice reform and health disparities. “But we want to be held accountable for making sure we address the community’s needs and residents feel heard.” 
 
Moreover, with the increased attention to racial violence and inequities over the past few years—locally and around the country—Abdur-Rahim asserts that social justice has become One Atlanta’s “North Star.”
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