• TELL THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO STOP FUNDING THE KINDERGARTEN TO PRISON PIPELINE
    We have a crisis across the country with school arrests and suspensions. We all were horrified to see a South Carolina police officer assault and handcuff a 16 year black student in her classroom. But the school-to-prison pipeline starts the disparate treatment of our youngest black students in school. Black children make up 18% of preschoolers, but 48% of pre-school suspensions. Overall black students are 4 times more likely than their white peers to be suspended. Latino, LGBT and special needs students are also more likely to be suspended. The data is clear suspensions lead to dropouts, which often lead to prison. My 10-year-old son Jamir has faced multiple school suspensions when he was a student at Success Academy charter schools in New York City. He was routinely asked to be picked up or was suspended for minor infractions like being too emotional or not going up the school stairs in a timely manner. My son has special needs and he can act out when not provided the proper supports, but Success Academy did nothing to help him. I finally had to withdraw my son. Jamir and I are not alone. On October 29th, the New York Times reported on a Success Academy “Got to Go” list of students the school wanted to get rid of. These students faced numerous suspensions as early as kindergarten and most of the parents withdrew their children as a result. Moskowitz has boasted on national TV and in a prominent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal about her harsh discipline policies including her suspension of kindergarteners. Last year one of her schools issued 44 out-of-school suspensions to just 203 kindergarteners and first graders. But because Moskowitz has the backing of hedge fund billionaires who use their political muscle to buy influence for her and other zero tolerance charter schools in Washington, D.C., nothing is being done about it. In fact Eva Moskowitz has used her political connections to rake in over $37 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education. She was just awarded $13.4 million of $335 million that the Department awarded to charter schools across the country. If the U.S. Department of Education is going continue to fund Eva Moskowitz’s zero tolerance charter schools in New York, then they will turn a blind eye to zero tolerance charter schools across the country. We cannot allow the U.S. government to fund a kindergarten to prison pipeline. That is why I joined with the Alliance for Quality Education and the Urban Youth Collaborative to ask you to send this petition to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calling on him to stop funding the Kindergarten to prison pipeline. Fatima Geidi
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    Created by Alliance for Quality Education New York
  • Democracy Requires Real (and more) Debate: Demand a #BlackLivesMatter Presidential Debate
    UPDATE 10/22/15 regarding DNC response to our campaign (Full Statement Linked Below): It is a given that our network, in collaboration with our allies and supporters, will conduct issue forums and town hall meetings at the local, regional and national levels to help our communities make informed choices in 2016 that help advance our collective interests. We want a debate supported by the DNC that will speak directly and proactively to the issues impacting black people in this country. Debates that are shaped by the corporate media will never adequately address the issues we care about. We urge the DNC to work with movements and core constituency groups that can help generate substantive conversation beyond the talking points that you can easily find on the websites of candidates. The DNC must commit to not punish candidates that choose to participate in other debates beyond those sanctioned by the DNC. The issues we care about include but are not limited to: over policing and blue on black violence; violence and economic disenfranchisement of transgender people; patterns of incarceration leading to the world's most bloated prison industry; systemic and historic forms of economic policies that level black communities; attacks on organized labor and the dismantling of the safety net, the criminalization of immigrants, and more. ***** It is not enough to poll the Presidential candidates on whether or not they think "Black Lives Matter" or "All Lives Matter" -- we deserve substantive responses and policy recommendations. We deserve substance and not rhetoric. In fact, we demand it. Limiting the number of debates unfairly privileges some candidates over others, and cheats voters out of the opportunity to fully engage candidates on issues we care about. Black voters, in particular, constitute a significant proportion of the potential voting bloc. Those of us who (reluctantly) give our votes to the Democratic Party deserve more robust forums on issues of particular concern to our communities, at home and abroad. According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), in 2012, Black women voted at a higher rate than any other group, across ethnicity, gender and race. In fact, more than 70% of registered Black women voted in the 2012 Presidential election, and overwhelmingly voted Democrat. More than 61% of registered Black men voted in the 2012 Presidential election--less than 1% shy of voting turnout for white men. This last year alone has demonstrated clearly that Black lives are under attack--from police violence to the murders of black trans women to economic disenfranchisement and neoliberal polices. It's time to extend the public conversation beyond the status quo. We want to hear candidates debate and offer tangible solutions to the myriad issues impacting Black people. Lifting the unfair restriction on the number of debates and supporting a Black Lives Matter Presidential debate is a step in the right direction. -Elle Hearns, Robbie Clark, Anita Moore and the rest of the BLM team Full statement link: https://www.facebook.com/BlackLivesMatter/posts/504518409719409
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    Created by Black Lives Matter
  • Protect DC's Black Communities from Police Violence: Say NO to Mayor Bowser's Crime Bill
    Bill 21-0357 will effectively criminalize entire Black neighborhoods in the District. It seeks to flood communities with police endowed with the power to conduct illegal aggressive and dangerous searches and seizures, and to incarcerate people almost at will for minor and non-violent offenses. Without the support of any data, the Mayor places the blame on returning citizens for the District’s recent spike in crime and seeks to target people on parole probation or supervised release for surveillance and broken windows policing. The Mayor does not understand the issues that affect the District’s most underserved areas. Instead of responding with knee-jerk proposals that will only increase the rates of arrests and incarceration without reducing crime, the Mayor and the DC Council should invest resources in creating jobs with living wages, support “ban the box” measures to help eliminate obstacles to employment and housing for Returning Citizens, create and protect truly affordable housing, prohibit displacement, significantly improve access to healthy and affordable food and other services that make our community safer. In Solidarity, Black Lives Matter DMV and Stop Police Terror Project #TakeBackOurStreetsDC
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    Created by Sean Blackmon
  • SUPPORT BLACK YOUTH: LOCKED OUT OF KATRINA RECOVERY/PUSHED OUT OF SCHOOL!
    Why is this important? If we believe children are our future, ALL children, then it is our duty to ensure that each and every one, even those with challenging behaviors are given every opportunity to grow and thrive. In the predominately black, still storm ravaged Eastern New Orleans, Collegiate Academies operates 3 schools. Each school has chosen to suspend children at rates over 40, 50 and 60% or more each year, when other alternatives are available. Children can’t learn if they are not in school. Schools do a great job of having zero tolerance and accountability for our children and we want more accountability from our schools. High suspension rates do not reflect the use of positive reinforcement methods, rather oppressive discipline. Collegiate Academies does a great job at showcasing its successes in annual reports, however, there is no mention of suspension rates, infractions youth are suspended for, the number of teachers who receive professional development training for restorative practices, conflict resolution or positive behavior supports as per ACT 136 of 2010 or your attrition rates. Recognizing that African-American students in Louisiana public schools are suspended and expelled at disproportionately high rates, according to a report from the Education Department, families want to be assured that Collegiate Academies is following best practice in order to educate our children and not pushing out children who need the most support. If the Louisiana Department of Education’s goal is to provide learning environments and experiences, at all stages of human development, that are humane, just, and designed to promote excellence in order that every individual may be afforded an equal opportunity to develop to his full potential as per our Preamble, Article 8, Louisiana State Constitution, in New Orleans we are failing our children. For the 2013 school year, 46,625 out-of-school suspensions were doled out, which was more than the total number of children enrolled in New Orleans public schools that year. Recovery from harsh discipline polices for some children and families leaves them feeling as though they are still in the midst of a storm. Collegiate Academies promotes itself as a national model stating – “we seek perfection in everything we do”. Children are not perfect and neither is a model that suspends, at times, more than half of their students. The same year Collegiate Academies was suspending more than ½ of their school population; Pope Francis knelt before 12 children and washed their feet, choosing to perform the Holy Thursday ritual at a juvenile detention facility in Rome. One of the most important men in the world showed his willingness to serve troubled children, to exhibit the values of compassion and forgiveness that we hold dear in our society. He didn’t just preach to the children and give them guidance about how they can live better lives. He didn’t suspend them or push them away; he knelt down and washed their feet. He cared and took action. Please join with FFLIC today in taking action for ALL children, sign this petition and demand that Collegiate Academies cease suspending children and ensure teachers are properly trained.
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    Created by Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children Picture
  • Make #BlackWorkersMatter: End the Exclusion of Black Workers from New Orleans Reconstruction
    "I can count on one hand the number of Black workers that work with me on Woodward construction sites" -Woodward employee Woodward Design+Build who has been in New Orleans since the 1920's did not think you could employ 40% local workers in the 313 Carondelet Project while the Lemoine Company who has been locally based in New Orleans since 2011 reportedly employed 80% local workers on the construction of the New Orleans East Hospital. Since Katrina New Orleans has been one of the largest construction sites in the country, meanwhile the exclusion of Black workers from the reconstruction has led to a massive Black jobs crisis- 52% of Black men are out of work, New Orleans has the second highest rate of income inequality in the country, 50.5% of Black children live in poverty and Black families make less than half the income of white families (Black families yearly median income in New Orleans is only $27,812) Woodward Design+Build has built countless projects in Post Katrina New Orleans and is going to be breaking ground this year and next on several more their continued exclusion of Black workers from their construction sites will further exacerbate the Black jobs crisis in New Orleans and we must act now to hold them and other major contractors accountable to make #BlackWorkersMatter in New Orleans. Local Black workers who are members of Stand with Dignity and our allies have been fighting to make #BlackWorkersMatter in New Orleans and we are winning- the City just passed a living wage ordinance for $10.55 per hour, and the Council will be considering a local hire ordinance on October 1st. These actions by our city government will go a long way but we have to hold accountable the companies who have gotten us to this point in the first place. Sign on Now to hold contractors accountable to make #BlackWorkersMatter in New Orleans- starting with Woodward Design+Build
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    Created by Latoya Lewis
  • Tell Congress: Protect, don’t disenfranchise millions of voters
    Two years ago, in a split 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key component of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, allowing states with a history of voter discrimination to introduce voting laws, effectively disenfranchising millions of minority and low-income voters. The preclearance requirement would impact states that have implemented procedures requiring photo ID, birth certificates and other documentation; states which redistrict by “packing” communities of color and language minorities into a single district; and require states to provide fair and equitable distribution of voting equipment, poll workers and voting hour opportunities. The bill would also expand polling locations on Indian lands. Stand with Color of Change and People Demanding Action and tell your members of Congress: Support the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, which protects millions of minority and low-income voters from laws meant to suppress the vote and disenfranchise voters.
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  • Take Down ALL Symbols of White Supremacy in New Orleans
    Since 2015, we've organized to have four statues removed in New Orleans. And in May of this year, Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered a powerful speech that supported the notion that there space for reverence of the Confederacy in New Orleans. We must continue organizing until all property dedicated to people who fought to keep slavery is renamed and repurposed. Two weeks ago, white supremacists swarmed the streets in Charlottesville armed with lit torches and blunt objects to terrorize Black people. This modern-day lynching mob crowded around a Confederate statue, and in honor of the false idol, killed a peaceful protester and critically wounded dozens more. There is no doubt that white supremacists use these statues to validate their racism and violence. Now more than ever, we have to remove all Confederate symbols and emblems to white supremacy. Our local government has a responsibility to protect its Black communities from the kind of terrorism and bloodshed that rocked Charlottesville. The New Orleans family is defined by the diverse, inclusive nature of its culture in spaces both public and private. Public spaces are for everyone and should not be used to promote the abhorrent views of the white ruling class to uphold symbols of Black oppression. Not only that but our tax dollars should no longer be used to maintain these structures. We walk to the river, to work, to school, to visit a friend, and look up into the faces of men who traded human beings as property and fought to protect the ability to do so. There is no basis to support the continued littering of our public squares and buildings with monuments, street names and public schools named after white supremacists. These memorials only serve as constant reminders of the past and present domination of black people by the rich white ruling class. They are insulting to anyone with a sense of history and who supports progress and democracy. These symbols also represent present day reality where most decisions and government policy are determined by those who accept white supremacist notions that Black people and all non-white people are less and deserve less than white people. Some people believe that the struggle to remove white supremacist symbols is a deflection from the more meaningful struggle to end present day discrimination. They couldn’t be further from the truth. These monuments and signs are so much more than symbols of bygone days. They are active parts of an abusive system in which intentionally unequal distribution of power and resources goes unchecked. The white supremacist ideas represented by these symbols permeate USA society and result in actual discrimination and murder. That is why policemen with white supremacist conceptions of young Black people can murder them so easily. This is why the so-called criminal justice system can practice mass incarceration of Black people with the approval of most white people. This is why we have over 50% unemployment for Black men in New Orleans and there is no editorial outcry by the white ruling class press. If our New Orleans family is to have a chance at real racial reconciliation, we must remove all obvious symbols of white supremacy to show our collective will to address entrenched systemic oppression, which is wreaking havoc in the minds, homes, and neighborhoods of our families citywide. Now is our opportunity to be proactive. All over the USA, especially in the South, progressive Black people and their allies are leading struggles to rid the South of the symbols of treason, domestic terrorism and racist oppression. State governments in South Carolina and Alabama have removed the Rebel Flag. The Memphis city council has voted to remove the statue and the body of confederate General and founder of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest. The Georgia NAACP has called for the removal of the Stone Mountain memorial to the confederacy.
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    Created by Take Em Down NOLA Picture
  • Fire Officer Frascatore -- history of excessive force, then attacks tennis star James Blake
    Former tennis star James Blake was tackled and violently slammed to the ground by Officer Frascatore of the New York City Police Department. Not only was he innocent, the crime the Officer thought he was responsible for — identity theft — in no way required violent policing. It’s a question that has to be asked: would the officer have tackled and slammed James Blake on the ground if he was a white Wall Street banker accused of a financial crime? But it turns out that this isn’t the first time that Officer Frascatore has done something like this. According to an investigation by WNYC, over a seven-month period of 2013, Officer Frascatore was the subject of five civilian complaints. He has also been named in two federal lawsuits — including for falsely arresting, beating, and pepper spraying a Queens man. He even once yanked open a car door during a traffic stop, punched the driver in the mouth, and then sued the driver for biting his fist! NYPD Commissioner William Bratton needs to fire Officer Frascatore immediately. James Blake hit the nail on the head when he said: “I don't think this person should ever have a badge or a gun again.” When officers like Frascatore are allowed to continue in their jobs despite a history of excessive force, it is sadly often just a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed. What if James Blake had attempted to fight back against what he could easily have seen as an unprovoked attack, from a plainclothes officer with no visible badge or gun? James Blake was lucky -- after 15 minutes, he was released from handcuffs with cuts and bruises. And as a high-profile sports figure, he can tell his story to the world. But If this can happen to James Blake, what is happening every day to Black and brown New Yorkers who aren't as famous, and who end up injured, in jail, or even dead as a result of overpolicing? This has to stop -- Commissioner William Bratton needs to step it up and do whatever it takes to fix this over-policing epidemic. Demand that he take action, starting with firing Officer Frascatore and then conducting a review of all other officers with a documented history of excessive force.
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    Created by Keith Goodman
  • Return Mary Watkines -- Walmart Worker Fired for Speaking Out
    My name is Mary Watkines and I'm a leader and founding member of OUR Walmart in Washington state. Over the last month over 30 new associates have joined from stores in Federal Way, Renton, and Auburn. I have spent this time advocating for increased minimum wage in WA state, drawing strength from my faith in God and the power of workers to make change. I work hard every day in my store and did my best to model dignity in the workplace. I returned to work on April 15th, after being disciplined for wearing an OUR Walmart pin, alongside local community members in prayer. I also presented a resolution related to executive pay at the Walmart Shareholder meeting in Bentonville in June, bringing attention to the income inequality that we as Walmart workers experience firsthand. However, two weeks ago, I was fired. As an organizer and mentor to many associates in my store and beyond, it is clear I am an ongoing target of management. This time, I was pulled in from my break by my store manager and asset protection and given termination papers including a money order paying me up to the minute I stepped off the floor. My store manager said that the directive to fire me had come from above. I believe that Walmart, the largest employer of African-Americans in the country, has the opportunity to make a difference in our lives, but instead is choosing to retaliate against people like me who speak out. This is not the first time Walmart has tried to fire me unjustly, but I need your help to get re-hired, again. I have already spoken with my store manager, district manager and a member of HR from Walmart's Regional office but now I need your help.
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    Created by Thomas Smith
  • Demilitarize Emeryville Police!
    The lives of Black women are consistently devalued, criminalized, and abused by police in the United States. In the case of Yuvette Henderson, this abuse extended to murder. She is not alone; Tarika Wilson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones—just to name a few—have all been killed by police. In the early afternoon of Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old mother of four children and one grandchild, was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police Department on the Oakland-Emeryville border of California. Officers shot Yuvette Henderson after responding to a report from Home Depot regarding an alleged theft where the suspect appeared to be armed and had suffered a head injury, requesting an ambulance.(1) Eyewitness accounts of the shooting contradict the statements released by Emeryville police. Witnesses say they saw Yuvette with both hands in the air, waving down a bus when she was shot and did not report seeing her with a gun. Police state that they asked Yuvette Henderson to drop her weapon and, when she refused, shot and killed her. Police have never stated that Yuvette Henderson pointed a gun at them. Yuvette Henderson fired no shots.(2) Michelle Shepherd and Warren Williams shot Yuvette with three weapons, including an AR-15 rifle—a military-grade weapon.(3) As the human rights violations in Ferguson exposed to the country last summer, police departments across the nation are abusing their access to military equipment and targeting communities of color. This misuse of power is as present here in the S.F. Bay Area as it is elsewhere, made painfully clear with the killing of Yuvette. Repeated abuse of state power and increased state terror pose a serious threat to the human and civil rights of all people, including the residents of Emeryville and its surrounding area. The city of Emeryville spans a mere two-square miles and has a population of 10,000 inhabitants. The presence of military weapons in a city this small only serves to deepen the divide between surrounding communities and law enforcement. Why does a police department require the use of military assault weapons when serving its community? We believe that the police should not be at war with the people they are meant to protect. Enough is enough! State terrorism must end. Emeryville Mayor Ruth Atkin and the city council must ban the use of all military-grade assault weapons from the Emeryville PD and ensure that all such weapons removed from the Emeryville PD. 1. "Black Lives Matter activists shut down Emeryville Home Depot for 5 hours, demand answers in police murder of Yuvette Henderson," San Francisco Bay View 2-23-2015 http://sfbayview.com/2015/02/black-lives-matter-activists-shut-down-emeryville-home-depot-for-5-hours-demand-answers-in-police-murder-of-yuvette-henderson/ 2. "Anti Police-Terror Project Holds Rally and Vigil for Yuvette Henderson," Anti-Police Terror Project 2-20-2015 https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/02/20/18768819.php 3. "#BlackLivesMatter Activists Shut Down Emeryville Home Depot; Demand Surveillance Tapes Of Fatal Police Shooting," CBS 02-21-2015 http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/02/21/blacklivesmatter-activists-shut-down-emeryville-home-depot-demand-surveillance-tap
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    Created by Anti Police-Terror Project Picture
  • RELEASE ALL THE TAPES! JUSTICE FOR YUVETTE HENDERSON
    The lives of Black women are consistently devalued, criminalized, and abused by police in the United States. In the case of Yuvette Henderson, this abuse extended to murder. She is not alone; Tarika Wilson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones—just to name a few—have all been killed by police. In the early afternoon of Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old mother of four children and one grandchild, was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police Department on the Oakland-Emeryville border of California. Officers shot Yuvette Henderson after responding to a report from Home Depot regarding an alleged theft where the suspect appeared to be armed and had suffered a head injury, requesting an ambulance.(1) Eyewitness accounts of the shooting contradict the statements released by Emeryville police. Witnesses say they saw Yuvette with both hands in the air, waving down a bus when she was shot and did not report seeing her with a gun. Police state that they asked Yuvette Henderson to drop her weapon and, when she refused, shot and killed her. Police have never stated that Yuvette Henderson pointed a gun at them. Yuvette Henderson fired no shots.(2) One of the officers was wearing a body cam at the time, which was turned off during the shooting. He remembered to turn it on AFTER they killed her.(3) Yuvette sustained a head injury while inside Home Depot, yet the events leading up to this incident have been obscured because Home Depot, Oakland PD, and Emeryville PD have refused to release any related video footage. Furthermore, Yuvette was shot within feet of Extra Space Storage’s surveillance cameras, the tapes from which are also being withheld from the public with the police claiming that the surveillance video system in this brand new storage center was “broken” on the day was killed. Why did Yuvette leave Home Depot with a head injury and what happened during the moments before she was shot by a military assault rifle? We believe that in order for there to be a just investigation, the videos of her shooting and anything leading up to it must be publicly released. On February 21, Anti-Police Terror Project, Asians4BlackLives, and Xicana Moratorium Project activists shut down Emeryville Home Depot by locking down several entrances to the building. They remained there for five hours—the length that Yuvette was left lying on the street—demanding answers about her murder. Justice for Yuvette! Join us in putting pressure on Emeryville Chief of Police James, Home Depot, and Extra Space Storage to immediately release ALL the video footage related to the shooting of Yuvette Henderson. 1. Black Lives Matter activists shut down Emeryville Home Depot for 5 hours, demand answers in police murder of Yuvette Henderson. San Francisco Bay View 2-23-2015 http://sfbayview.com/2015/02/black-lives-matter-activists-shut-down-emeryville-home-depot-for-5-hours-demand-answers-in-police-murder-of-yuvette-henderson/ 2. "Anti Police-Terror Project Holds Rally and Vigil for Yuvette Henderson" Anti-Police Terror Project 2-20-2015 https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/02/20/18768819.php
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    Created by Anti Police-Terror Project Picture
  • Coca-Cola: Stop Bankrolling White Supremacy. End Your Sponsorship of Stone Mountain Park.
    UPDATE 8/22/15: Today activists from our team raised a large banner obscuring the mountain with the message “Heritage of Hate: Coke stop sponsoring racism” during a confederate rally in support of Stone Mountain and the confederate flag. https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.colorofchange.org/images/CokeBanner400pxtall.JPG On the evening of November 25, 1915, a group of 16 men clad in robes and hoods ascended to the top of Stone Mountain, the largest mass of exposed granite in the world, 15 miles east of Atlanta, Georgia. Once on top, the men ignited a flaming cross, signaling the second coming of the Ku Klux Klan, which had been dormant for 40 years. The events of that night set decades of white supremacist violence and terror by the KKK in motion, with Stone Mountain at the center. One hundred years later, and the mountain has been transformed into Stone Mountain Park, Georgia’s number one tourist attraction. The park-- which draws an estimated 4 million visitors per year, and includes Coca-Cola as one of it’s biggest corporate sponsors-- features several confederate memorials, including a reconstructed Antebellum Plantation, a “Confederate Hall,” and a Civil War museum. The most famous and prominent attraction however is the face of the mountain itself, which is carved with the image of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis riding on horseback. Work on the carving began in 1916, but was delayed for decades until the 1950s when the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum. Segregationists in Georgia hoped the monument would serve as a reminder of White Supremacy, and in 1958 the state of Georgia purchased the mountain for $2million, paving the way for the sculpture’s completion. It remains there today as a reminder of our state’s brutal history. The recent spotlight on Confederate symbols across the south, combined with the growing backlash against the Movement for Black Lives, has made it clear that there is no place for symbols of hate and division on state property. By investing millions of dollars into the park through sponsorships, Coca-Cola is condoning the racism and hatred that these symbols represent to so many people. Please join us in calling on Coca-Cola to stop funding racism in their home state by dropping their sponsorship of Stone Mountain Park.
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    Created by Nelini Stamp