Summit on Cities Spotlights Atlanta Talent

City Summit 2023 took place in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The National League of Cities (NLC) held City Summit 2023 in November in Atlanta, Georgia. The NLC represents all 19,495 cities in the United States. The annual gathering allows city leaders nationwide to work together to improve their communities and raise awareness about the importance of local government. 

“Local leaders are on the front lines in these issues facing our residents, and we know better than anyone that we solve problems,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “That is what the NLC will do this week.”

More than 3,500 representatives from U.S. cities attended the three-day event. Among the attendees were 16- and 17-year-old youth delegates. Leaders discussed the challenges facing cities, including the need for affordable housing, improved schools, and equitable access to technology. Concerns were expressed about recent efforts by state governments to take power from local representatives. 

“Whether liberal or conservative, all communities deserve the right to be governed by the people they elect,” said David Sander, the mayor of Rancho Cordova, California, and NLC’s first vice president. 


Skye interviews Atlanta musician Jai Buchanan at the National League of Cities Youth Delegate Session. 


The Atlanta Mayor’s Office invited me to serve as a host and on-scene reporter for an NLC Youth Delegate Session. The session included an on-stage interview with Jai Buchanan, an Atlanta-based musician, actor, and songwriter with a large social media following. There was also a jam session for young artists.

I asked Buchanan how he got his start in music. “I just honed my skills,” he said. “I like to mix melodic tunes with hard beats. I need to be able to dance to it.”

Buchanan has loved to perform since childhood. As his website says: “[He] knows how to sway an audience—skills he picked up honing his various artistries since he was a preteen crafting beats and lyrics."

When I asked what’s next for him, Buchanan explained that he hopes to use his experiences making music videos in the film industry. “Music videos are always so magical to me,” he said.

After the interview, an outdoor jam session featured four young artists from Atlanta. I asked the youngest performer, 10-year-old musician Zion Joy, what advice she had for aspiring performers. “Don’t back down,” she said. “Keep on going, and don’t give up. You need a lot of strength—and confidence—to become an artist and perform on stage.” 

Zion’s dream, she added, “is to become a popular entertainer.” Besides music, she also enjoys acting. 

Like the other performers, Zion was proud to shine a light on Atlanta during the summit. In this capital city, she said, there are “a lot of cool things to do.” 

The next NLC summit is scheduled to take place in November in Tampa, Florida. 



Top photo: © Marilyn Nieves / Getty Images; bottom photo courtesy of the author