Group prays for change at Stone Mountain as board postpones meeting again
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BY EMIL MOFFATT, WABE
Stone Mountain, GA — The organization attempting to spearhead change at Stone Mountain Park made its case again Tuesday morning – this time, in the form of prayer.
“We thank you for giving us the strength to walk up these few steps of this mountain and to be in a place, once upon a time, that we were not welcome,” said Chianti Harris of Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church, the first to speak in front of a few dozen supporters at the Stone Mountain Action Coalition’s “Prayer for Our Park.”
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The coalition continues to push for change at the state park, where Confederate imagery – including a giant carving of Confederate leaders – still greets visitors.
Among the initial changes the group wants is the removal of Confederate flags, which fluttered just above the prayer service.
“We can’t allow the same flag that stood during slavery, the pro-slavery era to be here today, because it’s not healing,” said Meymoona Freeman, the coalition’s co-chair.
In September, the coalition presented an initial plan to rebrand the park, starting with the removal of Confederate flags.
But since then, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, which is in charge of the park, has postponed two board meetings.
Freeman says she’s not sure what to make of that.
“We are hopeful that they are considering the political climate and that they are really taking us seriously and saying to themselves, ‘Has the climate changed such that we need to consider the purpose of this park?,’” said Freeman.
But she also says the board could just be putting off a decision.
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In addition to the immediate removal of Confederate flags and the changing of street names that honor Confederate leaders, the group is calling for the Stone Mountain Memorial Association’s board of directors to consider a long-term plan of how to address the 90-foot tall carving on the side of the mountain.
The board’s next scheduled meeting is Nov. 16.
‘Symbols of Division’
Among the other speakers at Tuesday’s event was Stone Mountain City Councilman Clinton Monroe.
He says the city is trying to build a “bigger dialogue” with the Stone Mountain Memorial Association.
“We’ve been in discussions with them and we will continue discussions with them on how to coordinate activities so that the symbols of division that have caused and stimulate all the protests, don’t spill over into the city of Stone Mountain,” said Monroe.
“We need to tell the truth about the history before we can move on to some kind of understanding and reconciliation,” Monroe continued.
This story was provided by WABE.
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