Dear Decaturish – Lt. Governor singing the same song with different verse
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Thank you for your consistent reporting on two important and related issues which are facing residents of Decatur and DeKalb today. The first is the taking down of the monument that is a symbol of white supremacy. I am grateful to both the Decatur City Commission and the DeKalb County Commission for taking positive steps to address a mistake that was made in 1908. As a result of the resolution introduced by Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, I hope we will soon see the monument removed.
The second issue is the attack on the city of Decatur by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle who is seeking to withhold funding because the city adopted a policy of not prolonging the detention of people at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without a judicially issued warrant. This policy is in full compliance with current Georgia law and upholds the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
As others have observed, it is clear that Cagle is attempting to use this immigration issue to appeal to Trump voters in the state and further his campaign for governor. He believes that since Trump’s appeals to white supremacy worked last November, they will work for him, too. Through his rhetoric and actions, Lt. Governor Cagle intensifies divisions in the state, damages the state’s reputation, and sabotages the state’s ability to be seen as welcoming to incoming residents and businesses.
History is important, especially in the South. Cagle’s baseless attacks, racist lies, and threats are very similar to those used by another candidate for Georgia governor, Hoke Smith, who ran and won in 1906, two years before the monument was placed before the old courthouse in Decatur. Smith was also facing primary challengers and he, too, ran hard to the right inflaming tensions with fiery, segregationist rhetoric which contributed to the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906.
On September 22, 1906, 10,000 white vigilantes terrorized the city’s black community for 4 days killing between at least 25 and 40 people. Trolley cars were stopped, their black passengers pulled out of the windows and doors to be beaten, stabbed and killed. Men were thrown off bridges onto the railroad tracks or hung from lampposts, their bodies riddled with bullets. No member of the white mob, police or militia was ever charged in any of the many deliberate murders and maiming of black Atlantans.
There is a direct connection between the events in 1906, the monument in 1908, the violence in Charlottesville, and Cagle’s attacks today. White supremacy is the common thread. I support the petition sponsored by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and supported by the Georgia Not1More Deportation Coalition, Hate Free Decatur, Beacon Hill NAACP, Creating Community Change 4 Decatur/Black Lives Matter, and other organizations which calls on Governor Deal to put a stop to these baseless attacks towards the city of Decatur.
We condemn Lt. Governor Cagle’s attempts to further his campaign for governor by targeting immigrants, refugees, and communities of color for political benefit. By taking the action that it did, we believe the City of Decatur is upholding the values of equality, diversity, and justice for all its residents. In today’s political climate of white supremacist hate, fear, bigotry, and violence, we believe these values should be upheld not only in Decatur and sister cities and counties with similar policies, but in the state of Georgia and the country as a whole.
– Paul McLennan, Decatur