Statement: Georgia Must Eliminate Recognition of the Confederacy
On the morning of Friday, June 27, 2015, Georgia WAND joined Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and civil rights organizations, woman's groups, the faith community, LGBTQ groups, and the labor movement to address our concerns regarding Georgia's need to eliminate recognition of the Confederacy. The state of Georgia currently celebrates Confederate Memorial Day and allows drivers to opt-in for a license plate displaying the Confederate flag.
Below is the speech by Che Johnson-Long, who represented Georgia WAND at the press conference:
"There are many symbols of racism in this country, the confederate flag acts as a reminder of the bloody history of this region and country. It reminds us that this country was built off the backs of enslaved Africans, off the genocide of Indigenous folks, and off the labor of immigrant communities. This is not just a symbol of the past but a reminder that racism is ever present today- that in the state of Georgia 61% of incarcerated people are black.
But this is not the only symbol of racism in the state of Georgia. Another can be found in Burke County, Georgia, along the Savannah River, two towers of nuclear power plant Voglte spew toxic steam onto the surrounding community.
The expansion of Plant Vogtle, Units 3 and 4, is a constant reminder to the surrounding residents that this state does not care about the health and well-being of black working class people. Because if it did, we would not tolerate a nuclear plant in our back yards, which unapologetically contaminates our soil and and destroys the eco system of the savannah river. We would not tolerate Black people, elders, and youth alike, dying of environmental-related cancers in these areas. If Black lives mattered to the nuclear weapons and energy industry then we would not have to fight for environmental testing, clean water, adequate emergency evacuation plans, and for the option to move if residents so choose. If Black lives mattered to this industry we would not have seen the deaths of so many black people in his community.
This nuclear plant is a symbol representing the same racism and devaluing of Black lives that the confederate flag represents.
So while we are invested in getting rid of these symbols, we are equally if not more invested in doing away with what they represent- and the real ways that racism is killing black people in Georgia.
For these reasons, we stand with Senator Fort in urging Governor Deal to remove all symbols of the confederacy, and continuing the fight to end racism."
To get involved with Georgia WAND, please contact Che Johnson-Long, Program Manager, at 404-524-5999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.