At City Hall on Tuesday night, members of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement (AADM) and Athens for Everyone urged the Mayor and Commission for continued progress on human rights and fighting discrimination in Athens.
Public comment at City Hall on Tuesday, June 6 started with Tim Denson of A4E and continued with several speakers from Together We Will, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, and the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement.
After passing the Bar Admittance ordinance last November, the Mayor and Commission hasn’t seemed as willing as some would like to follow up with broader action to create a more inclusive Athens. Even the Bar ordinance itself has not been enforced, with most problem bars still denying some people entry. Dress codes at these establishments are still not posted publicly and are still not applied to everyone who walks through the doors.
Richard Banton of AADM expressed some frustration as he said, “As of today, we come back to you because we find ourselves at a standstill.” Video of black citizens being denied entry to the bar 9Ds has surfaced, and the Anti-Discrimination Movement has received dozens of similar complaints over the past six months, according to Banton. “This is not a request that can be buried in bureaucracy,” he demanded. (in the video at time 2:11:26)
Tim Denson, Organization Coordinator of Athens for Everyone, delivered a letter to the commission in support of an Athens Civil Rights Committee. This letter was signed by the Georgia ACLU and Georgia Equality in addition to local groups and religious congregations like A4E, AADM, the Clarke County NAACP, Al-Huda Islamic Center, and Congregation Children of Israel.
Local artist Eleanor Davis, member of A4E, painted and delivered a banner (serving as a petition) which was signed by over 200 Athenians calling for an Athens Civil Rights Committee. (2:26:20)the Civil Rights Committee will be on the city’s agenda this month, possibly starting at the work session on Tuesday, June 13. (2:57:20)
A4E encourages everyone to continue to pay attention to this important issue as it develops this month. Please email your commissioner and let them know you would like to see a new committee of Athenians established to hear discrimination complaints and to give advice to the commission on how to fight this problem. You can find their emails here.
Also at the meeting were several representatives from Citizen’s Climate Lobby and Together We Will. They implored the Mayor to sign on to the Mayors’ National Climate Agenda and to the Paris Climate Accord, as have hundreds of cities throughout the country, including Atlanta. This has become even more urgent lately as the Trump administration has pulled the US out of the accord, to the disapproval of most of the world.
Athens for Everyone
June 7, 2017