In 2003, Robert Griffin and his partner, Andrew Currie, were invited by friends to attend a festival in Oakhurst, a neighborhood in Decatur. Although they lived in Midtown, only 6 miles away, they had never visited this area of town. That day changed the trajectory of their lives. Andrew recalls, ”Honestly, I will never forget this. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon with great music. We looked around and there was this incredible feeling of welcomed diversity, old and young, black and white, gay and straight, and everything in between. It felt like we belonged.”
Not long after, Andrew and Robert drove by a house in Oakhurst that caught Andrew’s attention. Robert was resistant. “I was like, no! The property was overgrown, the windows broken, and the porch was terrible. It was just awful.” Andrew insisted it had good bones and structure. They bought the house, and that is where they have resided for the last 14 years.
Although Robert and Andrew have embraced living in Decatur, they have witnessed a shift in the diversity which leaves them concerned. Robert points out, “The changes since we have moved here have been dramatic. We left Midtown because it was becoming gentrified. It has followed us here to Decatur.” Andrew adds, “We are a victim of our own successes. Decatur was smart enough to invest in all the right things. The schools are a magnet, and that is a great thing. As a result, we are bringing a lot of people in, but the mix is getting off. I have grown to love the inclusiveness, the range of people and the attitudes. It can’t be beat. But, I fear that Decatur may lose a bit of its soul if we’re not careful.”