Bring Change To Stone Mountain Park
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Stone Mountain, GA is a majority Black suburb of Atlanta that holds a strong legacy of Black prosperity and heritage. Yet, Stone Mountain has always been synonymous with the state park that showcases the country's largest memorial to the Confederacy. For generations, Black families have had to live in the shadow of this hateful image, a constant reminder to the oppressive ideologies and white supremacists that devoted their lives to instilling fear throughout the black communities of the south. Originally a gathering ground for members of the KKK to carry out their rituals and practices, the park still remains as a bastion of Confederate pride and history.
Georgia's state government has gone to great lengths in protecting its confederate legacy. Not only has language been added to our state code to protect public confederate monuments, but they had taken special measures to amend the state code to specifically protect Stone Mountain's confederate monument due to it being housed in a private/public partnership (the park is owned by the state and operated by SMMA and the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation). This makes it very clear that the government of Georgia values the legacy of a defeated and morally corrupted power over the welfare and protection of Black Lives. It is time to put an end to this corruption!
We have an opportunity to redefine Stone Mountain as symbol for justice and a healing space for reconciliation. In order to bring an end to this monument and a beginning to a new legacy of peace, I believe the following steps must be taken:
1. Put pressure on the congressional representatives of the Georgia House Rules Committee and the Georgia Senate Committee for State and Local Governmental Operations to amend Article 1 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Georgia State Code to no longer protect Stone Mountain and all public confederate monuments.
2. Demand the Stone Mountain Memorial Associate (SMMA) Board of Directors and Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation meet with local leaders across the greater Atlanta region to propose a timeline and plan of action for removing the confederate carving upon Stone Mountain.
3. The city of Stone Mountain will create an advisory board to work with the SMMA to discuss plans for a new carving that pays homage to the Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities across the state of Georgia.
4. Propose new education policies to the Georgia House Education Committee to create a more comprehensive state history curriculum that devotes more time to covering Black, Latinx, and Indigenous history, as well as the foundations and crimes of the Confederacy.
Stone Mountain is my home. I was born and raised here and spent the most formative years of my youth growing up in the shadow of this monument. To a black man who has experienced racism and witnessed an oppressive system attempt to destroy his family and community over the generations, that carving on the side of the mountain means so much more than just a relic of confederate history. It represents pure hate and the relentless attempt of this country to wipe my people from this earth. This monument, along with all the other images of the confederacy need to be eliminated once and for all. No Black youth should have to grow up in its shadow any longer. This monument continues to represent a culture and a governing system that is responsible for murder of countless Black lives over the generations, including Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Oluwatoyin "Toyin" Salau, Rayshard Brooks. This has got to stop. No more!
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