Georgia Resists, a newly formed coalition of civil and human rights groups, Aug. 18 announced a weekend of resistance across Georgia and a major demonstration of unity in response to last weekend’s deadly Unite the Right event in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. in Atlanta, organizers of the Georgia Resists Coalition call to community members to gather at Centennial Olympic Park and peacefully march to the Martin Luther King National Historic Site as a show of resistance to hate and white supremacy in Georgia.
“We believe love trumps hate and Saturday’s demonstration will show our solidarity against the neo-Nazis and white nationalists that clashed violently with those standing against racism, leaving courageous American Heather Heyer dead and innocents like Deandre Harris injured, along with more than a dozen others,” Janel Green, a Georgia Alliance for Social Justice leader, said in a news release
Other protests and solidarity marches are planned for Aug. 19 in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington.
The Charlottesville rally was held in response to that city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. At least 26 cities across the nation have either removed or have plans to remove Confederate memorials. While most of the memorials are clustered in the South, Confederate monuments have been or are planned to be removed in Los Angeles, San Diego and New York. Jim Gray, mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, announced last week two Confederate statues in his city would be taken down and relocated. Activist Takiyah Thompson and three others were arrested for allegedly taking down a Confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina, Aug. 15.
“Charlottesville, like much of America, has grappled with the legacy of white supremacy, the country’s continued decision to honor those who fought to keep black Americans in bondage and the racism and violence we continue to confront on a daily basis even in cities like Atlanta,” said attorney Tiffany Roberts, a Black Lives Matter Atlanta organizer.
After President Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks following the tragedy in Charlottesville, pressure from across the political spectrum to remove hateful symbols including many statutes that glorify the confederacy is mounting. Organizers of the march believe that the removal of these symbols of hatred should inspire communities to confront institutions that continue the legacy of slavery through the systemic oppression of marginalized groups.
“This effort this weekend is to make sure that Gov. Nathan Deal and our representatives in government at the state, county and municipal levels understand that hate has no sanctuary in Georgia,” Francys Johnson, a Statesboro attorney and pastor, said in a news release. “These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement and the terror fueled by white supremacy that it actually stood for.”
Organizers including Kenyette Barnes, a registered lobbyist, said this is not just a march.
“We have demands including the adoption of hate crime and comprehensive civil rights legislation; revising the statutory protections for Confederate statutes so they can be move to cemeteries and museums; and more state support for the network of museums that tell the stories of Georgia,” said Barnes.
Millennial activist James Woodall summed up the objective of the March by saying, “This generation is united in both our resistance against white supremacy and racial bigotry and our commitment to fulfill the obligation of citizenship expressed in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution in the building of a more perfect union.”
March organizers have planned for a safe peaceful march to included trained marshals and legal observers to monitor all activity. Our priority is to simultaneously deliver our message while maintaining the safety of all marchers.