Dear Decaturish – Decatur High students support removal of cannon
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The confederate monument that was removed on the eve of Juneteenth once stood with the intention of glorifying the atrocities committed onto Decatur’s African American community. Today, a cannon that was used to kill and force Indigenous peoples off of the land we now inhabit stands as a reminder of this nation’s atrocities committed onto its Indigenous peoples. As we did with the Confederate monument, we must remove the cannon that stands in the Decatur Square.
As part of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, we, students of Decatur High School, have been working with Indigenous community members to better understand the intersectionality in our social justice work. In accordance with the city’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Decatur residents can no longer remain complacent and allow this cannon to propagate white supremacy.
The Square is often filled with people. There are always children running around, students hanging out after school, or adults shopping and listening to live music. The Square represents the Decatur community and provides us with a sense of belonging – or at least it should. Yet in the middle of our Square lies the cannon. It is unacceptable that in the same place where hundreds of children gather every Friday, where the largest independent book festival in the country is held, and where our city government pledges its commitment to racial justice, there lies in its heart a glorification of genocide. For those who know what this cannon stands for, our city becomes far less welcoming. However, we have found that most people simply walk by it, unaware of its significance or history. It’s time to change that.
In 1906, The Daughters of the Confederacy, who also erected the “Lost Cause” Confederate monument, erected this instrument of genocide to glorify and celebrate Georgia’s violent colonial history. They deliberately placed this cannon in Decatur to intimidate and subjugate the Mvskoke (Creek) people, whose land Decatur occupies. 114 years later, the legacy of trauma that this cannon ignorantly represents stands in direct contradiction with our community’s ideals. If the City of Decatur cares to uphold these ideals, then we have to act on them.
We must also remember that ignorance is a privilege; those who are not fortunate enough to be ignorant of the cannon’s purpose must not continue to be erased from history and left out of the conversation. In order to be an active advocate for social justice and properly understand the effects of colonialism, we must deglorify acts of genocide.
By allowing this cannon to stand in Decatur, we choose to remain ignorant of the widespread negative effects of colonialism which are apparent in our climate crisis, our education system, and our very notions of beauty, art, and history.
By allowing this cannon to stand in Decatur, we are promoting violence against already-marginalized groups.
By allowing this cannon to stand in Decatur, we are complicit in the perpetuation of white supremacy.
On Monday, December 21st, the Decatur City Commission will meet to discuss its support for the removal of this cannon. It is imperative that the Decatur community’s sentiments are properly reflected in this meeting. We want to echo the demands of the over 1,000 individual people who signed a petition in support for the cannon’s removal and ensure that our City Commission is acting in the interests of our entire community – especially those who have been marginalized due to this country’s legacy of white supremacy.
The best way for the city to hear our voices is for us to speak up. Residents are given an opportunity in the “public comments” section of the City Commission meeting to voice their opinions about items on the agenda, and we must effectively use our rights and voices to advocate for the cannon’s removal. It is time for the city to act, and we must do our part.
If you wish to attend this meeting, please visit this link to learn how you can help in the cannon’s removal. We urge everyone who can to attend; it is our strength in numbers that will ultimately lead to a Decatur united against racism, discrimination, and bigotry.
As students, we want to push Decatur to become the egalitarian community that it claims to be. We understand that the future is in our hands and we know that our efforts make a difference in our community. Just as we did with the confederate monument, it’s time that we use our efforts to remove this cannon.
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