Coffee Conversations: West End community leaders discuss the importance of preserving Afrocentric identity

“Closer Look” show host Rose Scott talks with Lyndon Greene, president of the Atlanta University Center Neighborhood Association and Myrna Anderson-Fuller, president of the West End Merchants Coalition. (Photo credit: LaShawn Hudson)

The owner of the only Black-owned all-vegan breakfast and coffee shop in Atlanta says accountability rests on the shoulders of everyone and that she always wants to see her community growing and flourishing.

“As our community grows and matures and there are new folks that come, I would rather see us take on the responsibility of revitalizing rather than being victims of gentrification,” said Tassili Ma’at, the owner of UniTea & Coffee at 640 West, on Thursday at the first “Closer Look” Coffee Conversation of 2023.

During the event, which drew a large crowd of local community leaders, Rose talked with Ma’at, Atlanta City Councilman Jason Dozier, West End Merchants Coalition president Myrna Anderson-Fuller, and Lyndon Greene, president of the Atlanta University Center Neighborhood Association.

The guests talked about the most pressing issues facing West End and their top community priorities for the new year.

Councilman Dozier talked about affordable housing challenges and using federal dollars to improve street safety.

Anderson-Fuller talked about the creation of The Alliance, a community consortium to launch initiatives and solve community problems collectively.

Greene shared his thoughts about the future of The Mall of West End, tackling homelessness, community safety and improving economic mobility outcomes for West End neighbors.

“I would like to see a mall that I feel comfortable with sending anybody in, where they have good quality goods and everything that’s at a reasonable and affordable price,” said Greene.

The live event concluded with a poetry reading from UniTea & Coffee at 640 West’s operations manager.