Globally Social: New Media and Policy Change
Colleen McEdwards
Posted by colleenmcedwards On May - 1 - 2013 0 Comment

Feature Profile, Jour3010

“Dark Victory” is playing silently on Evelyn Wynn-Dixon’s television and a better phrase couldn’t be used to describe her life. Mayor Wynn-Dixon experienced homelessness while she was a single mother of four and is now serving in her second term as mayor of
Riverdale.

“Mayor is just a title. It doesn’t make me any better than anyone else. I remember being in my apartment with no lights and barely any food to feed my children. And look at where I am now. God’s favor has just been so good to me,” said Mayor Wynn-Dixon.

Born and raised in Atlanta neighborhood, Peoplestown because of the Peoples family who owned land in the neighborhood, Mayor Wynn-Dixon is not a new face to the Atlanta area.

“I grew up in segregation. I grew up when women my color were not considered beautiful,” the mayor recalled.

She vividly remembers the sense of community that was present during segregation. She loved how everyone was considered family and looked out for one another. The mayor mentioned that while she didn’t enjoy being told where she could or could not go because of
her race, she is grateful for the pride, dignity, and integrity that was instilled in her as a child from her community.

While she was appreciative for her family and community, Mayor Wynn-Dixon admitted that she didn’t make the best decisions growing up.

“I graduated from Price High School with honors and got a scholarship to college. I had to drop out of college because I got pregnant,” said Mayor Wynn-Dixon.

Wynn-Dixon constantly tries to talk to young girls about self-love so that they understand the importance of dignity and respect.

“You act the way you feel. I compromised myself for a man who didn’t love me.”

Wynn-Dixon’s mother passed away six weeks after the mayor’s first child was born. Wynn-Dixon was forced to raise a newborn alone as well as help her father with her younger siblings.

The mayor married her best friend, George, a few years after her mother’s death and had three children with him. Unfortunately, their last child was born with a birth defect and George couldn’t handle the pressures, so he walked out on his wife and kids four weeks after the child’s
birth.

“I had picked up weight by this time and he didn’t want a fat wife and crippled baby so he just left,” Wynn-Dixon said.

Once the baby was six weeks old, Wynn-Dixon and her children were evicted from their apartment.

“Life was just totally over,” she said.

After the eviction and sleeping on a mattress on her sister’s floor, Wynn-Dixon was ready to end it all. She attempted to commit suicide.

“I wanted to jump off of a bridge, but I saw a tractor trailer truck coming and I remember saying ‘I ain’t gone be able to do that,’” she said. “Then I had some Bayer Aspirin. Took them, threw them up. Had a gun, no bullets.”

Wynn-Dixon left her sister’s apartment only to move into a less-than-suitable apartment. It was then that she decided to go back to school.

“I was still sleeping on a mattress on a floor and while my children would sleep, I would have to put tin cans to all the holes in the wall and you could hear rats scratching the cans at night. I
finally made the decision to enroll at the Bryman School of Nursing. My ex mother-in-law gave me $2.35. Bus fare was only 35 cents. I wore one uniform and run over shoes, but they were clean every day,” Wynn-Dixon said.

Once her youngest child was three months old, Wynn-Dixon received a job opportunity at a daycare. She agreed to provide cooking and cleaning services as long as they allowed her children to attend for free and allowed her to leave and go to school for a few hours.

“God’s favor is good. It will open doors that no one else can open,” said Wynn-Dixon.

Unfortunately, the daycare owner began cheating Wynn-Dixon. The owner would give Wynn-Dixon’s children the left over food from her paying customers and would take Wynn-Dixon’s pampers and use them for other children.

Mayor Wynn-Dixon says she stopped working for the daycare, finished nursing school and started working for a physician, while still cleaning houses at night with her children. Once she
stopped working for the physician, she furthered her education at Atlanta Metropolitan College where she graduated honors with an associate’s degree in social work/philosophy and then received a scholarship to Clark Atlanta University. According to the mayor, the scholarship paperwork got lost and prohibited Wynn-Dixon from attending Clark Atlanta.

“An older lady walked up behind me and said ‘Georgia State is the school for you.’ I had stopped working as a nurse and was on welfare, food stamps, and section 8,” Wynn-Dixon said. “I went to Georgia State and graduated honors.”

Mayor Wynn-Dixon remembers how she wanted to push herself more so she decided to enroll into the University of Georgia, where she earned her Master’s in social work.

According to Wynn-Dixon, after graduating she began working at Grady Hospital and years later received a prophecy that she would become mayor. She took a leap of faith and became mayor of Riverdale in 2008. In 2011, she was named Business Woman of the Year. In
2012, Governor Nathan Deal appointed Mayor Wynn-Dixon to the board of directors
for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. Governor Deal also appointed
Mayor Wynn-Dixon to Georgia’s Transit Governance Task Force.

“None of these awards are really important. The only thing that matters is that I help someone. I love what I do. I feel like the mother of a community.”

The mayor still remains humble and faithful despite the trials she has had to endure in life. She notes that what keeps her so humble is the promise she made to God.

“I told God that if He delivered my children and I from that situation, I would commit my life to helping others. I’m afraid to not do for people. Once you do it enough, it becomes a part of
you,” said Mayor Wynn-Dixon.  “I don’t do it for the money or for the prestige. I do it because I love God. I now have the victory.”

 

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