Atlanta Native Tayari Jones Releases New Novel An American Marriage”

An American Marriage is a look at the personal toll of the criminal justice system from the author of Silver Sparrow (2011) and The Untelling (2005).

The Kirkus review follows. 

Roy has done everything right. Growing up in a working-class family in Louisiana, he took advantage of all the help he could get and earned a scholarship to Morehouse College. By the time he marries Spelman alum Celestial, she’s an up-and-coming artist. After a year of marriage, they’re thinking about buying a bigger house and starting a family. Then, on a visit back home, Roy is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Jones begins with chapters written from the points of view of her main characters. When Roy goes to prison, it becomes a novel in letters. The epistolary style makes perfect sense. Roy is incarcerated in Louisiana, Celestial is in Atlanta, and Jones’ formal choice underscores their separation. Once Roy is released, the narrative resumes a rotating first person, but there’s a new voice, that of Andre, once Celestial’s best friend and now something more. This novel is peopled by vividly realized, individual characters and driven by interpersonal drama, but it is also very much about being black in contemporary America. Roy is arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned in Louisiana, the state with the highest per-capita rate of incarceration in the United States, and where the ratio of black to white prisoners is 4 to 1. There’s a heartbreaking scene in which Celestial’s uncle—Roy’s attorney—encourages her to forget everything she knows about presenting herself while she speaks in her husband’s defense. “Now is not the time to be articulate. Now is the time to give it up. No filter, all heart.” After a lifetime of being encouraged to be “well spoken,” Celestial finds that she sounds false trying to speak unguardedly. “As I took my seat…not even the black lady juror would look at me.” This is, at its heart, a love story, but a love story warped by racial injustice. And, in it, Jones suggests that racial injustice haunts the African-American story.

Subtle, well-crafted, and powerful.

WellStar Health System 
provided $648 million

in charity and unreimbursed care

WellStar Health System, the largest not-for-profit health system in Georgia, provided more than $648 million in charity and unreimbursed care, as well as community programs during the 2017 fiscal year.

As a community-based health system, WellStar’s physicians, nurses, advanced practice professionals and team members are committed to helping patients and communities live healthier lives.  Currently, 10 percent of WellStar’s patients do not have insurance.  As part of its mission, WellStar cares for these patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

Through 11 hospitals and 250 medical office locations, WellStar provided more than $250 million in charity care and more than $117 million in care for those who were unable to pay for services but did not apply for charity care.  Additionally, community and outreach programs are important tools to help patients and families meet their health goals and understand their options, and WellStar funded $10 million in community programs during fiscal year 2017.

The amount of charity and unreimbursed care dramatically increased in 2017 due to WellStar’s recent expansion.  In 2016, WellStar grew to an 11-
hospital system when WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South, WellStar North Fulton Hospital, WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital, WellStar Sylvan Grove Hospital and WellStar West Georgia Medical Center joined the health system.

About WellStar Health System  

WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia, is known nationally for its innovative care models, focused on improving quality and access to healthcare. WellStar consists of WellStar Medical Group, 250 medical office locations, outpatient centers, health parks, a pediatric center, nursing centers, hospice, homecare, as well as 11 hospitals: WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South, WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital), WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, and WellStar Cobb, Douglas, North Fulton, Paulding, Spalding Regional, Sylvan Grove and Windy Hill hospitals. As a not-for-profit, WellStar continues to reinvest in the health of the communities it serves with new technologies and treatments.  For more information, visit

WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South partners with LifeLink in New Year’s Day Rose Parade

WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South partnered with LifeLink of Georgia to honor organ, eye and tissue donors. On January 1, 2018, the Donate Life float titled “The Gift of Time” appeared in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California ahead of the University of Georgia’s appearance in the College Football Playoff game.

The float included a dedication garden made up of roses featuring notes and messages from officials around the country. WellStar leaders signed handwritten dedications celebrating transplant recipients, honoring donors and thanking individuals and groups who support and take part in the donation and transplant community.

“As an acute care hospital, we may treat patients who have sustained life-threatening injuries or illness,” said Kim Ryan, president of WellStar Atlanta Medical Center and WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South. “It can bring comfort to patients and their families to be able to participate in organ donation, and thus help other individuals. We hope that by sharing donor stories, we can build awareness of organ donation to improve and save the lives of countless others.”

The Gift of Time float depicts a vibrantly colored, tropical backdrop that dates back to the ancient civilizations of Mexico. It celebrates the gift of life as costumed riders sit alongside the jungle, against stone carvings, drawing on the strength they have gained from their donors to continue and thrive on life’s journey. Families of deceased donors are honored to see their loved ones’ floral images highlighted as part of the float. Living donors and recipients bring the float to life by riding or walking beside the float.

In August, several WellStar hospitals were recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration for their continued efforts to promote organ donor registration. The highest ‘Platinum’ honor was awarded to WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Cobb Hospital and WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center. Other hospitals honored included WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South, WellStar Douglas, North Fulton and Paulding hospitals as well as WellStar West Georgia Medical Center and WellStar Corporate.

WellStar works closely with LifeLink Georgia, a not-for-profit organization that coordinates the recovery of lifesaving and life enhancing organs and tissue for transplantation therapy.

“WellStar Health System is a great champion for organ, eye, and tissue donation. We are proud of this accomplishment and applaud WellStar for making a difference in the lives of the more than 5,500 Georgians that are currently waiting for transplant,” says Cristina Kroeppler, hospital development liaison with LifeLink of Georgia. “It is because of these professionals’ unyielding dedication to saving lives that we applaud their achievements.” 

Since its debut on New Year’s Day 2004, the Donate Life Rose Parade float has become the world’s most visible campaign to inspire people to become organ and tissue donors. In addition to the 40 million viewers who watch the Rose Parade on TV and along the parade route, hundreds of events are held in cities and towns around the country to complete the “floragraphs” (floral portraits) of donors that adorn the float. 

For the thousands of Georgians listed for a life-saving transplant, organ donation offers hope for a longer life.  Anyone can be a potential donor, regardless of age or medical history; a single donor can save or improve the lives of nearly 75 people. To learn more about becoming a donor, visit  

Women’s Day 2017 at Bethel

An outstanding celebration of Class, Culture, and Community was the Bethel United Methodist Church Women’s Day 2017 production. 

The event was a vision of white and green. A fresh, young, inspiring message was brought forth by  Minister Elizabeth Pollard. A STELLAR production was written and directed by Ms. Catherine Lemons. starring a combination of youth and maturity as “The Millennium Woman & the Women of the Bible,” crossed generational paths in communication, while including membership from fellow churches.

The joint teamwork of Pastor Michael and & Mrs Patricia Stinson, honored the house of the Lord with dedication, support and beautification from the onset.  We look forward to 2018, and more “The Power of WE.”

Erma Freemont & Jessie McQueen Bell, Co-Chairs