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Beacon Hill urges City of Decatur: Pass cannon removal resolution on 12/21

Decatur

Beacon Hill urges City of Decatur: Pass cannon removal resolution on 12/21

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Decatur High School seniors (back row, left to right) Daxton Pettus, Julian Fortuna, Erin Gaul, Genesis Reddicks, Sophia Norton, (bottom row) Koan Roy-Meighoo and Bethani Thomas worked with Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights to organize a rally for removal of the cannon on the Decatur Square. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
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Decatur, GA – Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights released a statement urging the Decatur City Commission to pass the cannon removal resolution at their Dec. 21 meeting.

The press release reads:

Decatur High School students are leading a campaign to remove the cannon on the Square commemorating the 1836 genocidal “Indian War” that led to the removal of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation from the state of Georgia. In the following months after the war, the U.S. Army force-marched more than 15,000 Creeks to Oklahoma. Over 3,500 women, men, and children died along this 750 mile “Trail of Tears.” The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) placed the cannon there in 1906, two years before the Confederate monument to white supremacy was put in front of the old courthouse only a few feet away.

The Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights is in full support of these students as part of our overall campaign to promote the African – Indigenous connection and remove monuments and symbols of white supremacy in our city. After a people’s victory in removing the Confederate monument in June, we see removal of the cannon as an important next step in holding the city of Decatur accountable to its stated values “as a hospitable and welcoming place where people, families and institutions thrive and the contributions of all are celebrated and valued.”

More than 1000 signatures have been gathered calling for removal and a resolution was presented to the City Commission at its last meeting on December 7th. Decatur High School senior Daxton Pettus told the commissioners, “This monument was erected with the intention of creating an environment of separation while embracing racism. Decatur can’t truly be a community that understands and practices anti-racism with that cannon erected anywhere.” Senior Bethani Thomas added, “This cannon, which symbolizes the genocide of Native Americans, should not occupy this land where thousands of Native American men, women, and children were murdered. I ask for this symbol of hate to be removed from Decatur.”

As an alternative to the UDC’s racist imagery that has dominated the city square for more than 100 years, the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights in conjunction with the Decatur Arts Alliance and Decatur Makers has launched an “Art for the People” campaign to invite artists to submit a proposal for installation of public art to be placed in the Beacon Hill community. “Art for the People” challenges the narrative of agents of oppression and genocide, who enshrined their culture in monuments of stone and metal, honoring conquest and militarism, calling them “art.”

We urge residents of Decatur and DeKalb County to call on the Decatur City Commission to pass the resolution in favor of removal of the cannon at their meeting on December 21st. We will then take this issue forward to the DeKalb County Commission to request they act on it.

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