Dickens earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s in public administration at Georgia State University. He was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Dickens co-founded City Living Home Furnishings, a multi-million dollar retail company, and ran it for nine years. He also headed the African-American Male Institute, which boosted academic success for black male students at Georgia Tech. Dickens is also Georgia’s community leader at TechBridge, which is a source for nonprofits to obtain technology and business expertise. He co-founded the Technology Career program to teach technological skills to disadvantaged individuals. In 2013, he was elected to the third at-large seat in Atlanta’s city council, which he currently still holds. Before then, he served as the chairman of the Public Safety Committee and Community Development Committee.
Dickens has previously advocated for higher minimum wages and served as the Invest Atlanta Board secretary, where he took part in the effort that created twenty-one thousand jobs and $3.3 billion worth of investment into Atlanta. During his career at Atlanta’s city council, Dickens passed legislation that created $40 million in housing bonds and zoning policies that contributed to an additional two thousand affordable housing units. Using this prior experience, he has promised to support small businesses and their job openings while passing policies to make housing more affordable.
Dickens has proposed the “S.A.F.E Streets” plan, which details several aspects of utilizing law enforcement and includes a goal of reducing violent crime by 25% by late 2022. It encompasses initiatives employing hundreds of personnel and creating a group focusing on enforcing gun laws. Dickens mentions a plan to continue the current effort to install more license plate readers and streetlights for crime deterrence. He has also emphasized an improved training program and plans on arresting more gang leaders. Dickens promises to have law enforcement focus on violent crime while having specialists dedicated to non-violent problems. He has mentioned plans to address emergency response times by rebuilding 911 call centers. His former experience in the area includes chairing the Public Safety and Legal Administration committee in 2017, providing input to Atlanta’s police department, and passing policies banning dangerous police behavior and boosting salaries of senior officers.