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ATLANTA, GA. – Georgia activists are telling companies there will be no business as usual so long as they’re funding racist politicians. With the Georgia General Assembly pushing for a modern-day Jim Crow era, activists are fighting to stop the anti-voting rights laws. And they’re hitting politicians where it hurts – their campaigns’ bank accounts.
In the wake of the public lynching of George Floyd, companies throughout the United States (and some in Europe) launched large-scale marketing campaigns signaling their solidarity with those fighting for racial justice. The headquarters of several of these major U.S. companies reside in Georgia. They include Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Home Depot, AFLAC Insurance and the energy giant Southern Company.
Specifically, the Republican bills represent the largest rollback in voting rights since Jim Crow looming at the state Capitol. And voting rights activists have set their sights on these companies. They’re letting them know that commercials aren’t enough. Activists are demanding they walk the walk and stand against voter suppression bills, including HB 531 and SB 241.
Activists forcing companies to take a stand
In a statement to the Black Wall Street Times, New Georgia Project – Action Fund Director of Communications Nicole Henderson explained the frustration of corporate complicity in the voting rights assault. “Despite organizing Black History Month campaigns and using Black Lives Matter slogans, many corporations in Georgia support lawmakers working to disenfranchise Black voters, while others remain silent on the issue entirely. This is completely unacceptable,” said Henderson.
NGP-AF CEO Nse Ufot also made it clear that Georgians deserve more than exploitation from these companies. “Corporate brands leverage Georgia’s civil rights history to fatten their bottom dollar. It’s time to call the question: Where do you stand on this issue? Which side are you on? They don’t get to hide in the shadows,” Ufot said.
As a result, NGP-AF has partnered with several organizations, including SEIU Workers United and Progress Georgia, to host days-of-action to pressure companies to prove their allyship. These companies are funding the Georgia GOP officials who support the voter suppression bills and activists are demanding it stop as Jim Crow seeks to rise again in 2021.
Mass die-in event planned Monday at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta
At 5 p.m. today, March 15, activists are holding a mass ‘die-in’ at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. Henderson said, “we have organized the Die-In with our partners, Black Voters Matter, Georgia NAACP, The People’s Uprising, and Georgia Stand Up as a peaceful means of protesting that will amplify the significance of the anti-voting legislation that Georgia Republicans are currently moving through the state legislature.” She continued, “we know that our Georgia-based corporations have the power to stop this egregious legislation before it makes it to the Governor’s desk. Silence is not an option as our future depends on it!”
Ultimately, activists will protest at headquarters for The Home Depot, UPS, AFLAC and Southern Company on later dates. More information can be found here.
Further, former candidate for Georgia governor and America’s superhero Stacey Abrams passionately and poetically called for Congress to be ready to step in and overturn the Jim Crow-styled state laws. On Meet the Press this morning, the Fair Fight Action leader said, “These bills are nothing more than a pretext for returning to Jim Crow and stopping voters they don’t want to hear from. And my belief is that voters across this country, when they see that their right to vote is being thwarted, will do what they can to push back.” She continued, “But they shouldn’t have to fight on their own. That’s why we elected a Congress. That’s why we have a constitution. And that is why Congress should be held to account for defending our democracy.”