The Georgia Senate honored Killer Mike on Friday morning. And the Atlanta rapper, businessman and political activist took the opportunity to speak not just about his involvement with Atlanta’s water infrastructure, which was the reason for the honor, but also about education, equity and opportunity in Georgia.
“Our children deserve decent housing. Gentrification should not make children poor,” he said to the chamber. “Our school systems deserve more attention. Our teachers deserve more money. Our firemen deserve more money. And our policemen deserve more than new guns. They deserve to have enough cops on the street to be involved in the community.”
Killer Mike’s connection to the city’s water infrastructure is by way of an earlier honor: a giant, custom-built drill being used to build an emergency back-up water supply for the city was named “Driller Mike” in a naming contest put on by the city.
State Sen. Nan Orrock, a Democrat from Atlanta, sponsored the resolution recognizing Killer Mike and Atlanta’s work on water infrastructure.
But Killer Mike said his interest in politics goes back before his name being on a drill. He told the Senate he remembered visiting the state Capitol with a teacher when he was 14 years old.
"Because of his course that year I fell in love with my city, with my state, and the political process,” he said. “When I imagined myself here as a kid, I was dressed in all black like Run-DMC and I had on a gold chain. So you guys are indulging the fantasy of a child who made an A in Georgia history."
Killer Mike campaigned for Bernie Sanders during the primaries last year. And he said he’d support state Sen. Vincent Fort, one of the other sponsors of the resolution, who’s running for mayor of Atlanta.
"You can look forward to me stepping out on his campaign trail, I'm sure," he said.
Killer Mike added that slaves were not, in fact, immigrants, a reference to Ben Carson's remarks to Department of Housing and Urban Development employees. And he said that it was a testament to Georgia's progress that he could speak to the Senate while a portrait of a man whose family owned members of Killer Mike's family hangs in the state Capitol.
"Shouts out Crawford Long," he said.
“The charge that I give all of us in this hall today is to make sure that Georgia remains an equitable place not only for water, but for education, for workers’ rights, for where we're living,” Killer Mike said. “It should be as fair for a rural white man in Georgia who's trying to live by the land, as it is for a kid on the Westside of Atlanta, trying to survive the concrete.”