ATLANTA, Ga. – Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center raised a billboard in support of advocacy efforts in Georgia to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces. The billboard is located at the Langford/I-85/75 split heading into Atlanta from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. You may also find the location on Google Maps using these coordinates: 33.694353,-84.40286.
The following statement is from SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks:
“This billboard is being raised in support of metro Atlanta's ongoing efforts to remove symbols of white supremacy* by grassroots groups like the Stone Mountain Action Coalition. We also stand in solidarity with student activists at Wheeler High School in Cobb County who are working to change the name of their school from that of a Confederate leader to someone the entire community can be proud of.
“Georgia is one of six southern states that enacted oppressive preservation laws to keep Confederate symbols of hate standing in communities. In 2019, Georgia doubled down by passing Senate Bill 77 which denied the will of Georgians seeking to remove symbols of white supremacy from their public spaces, leaving no recourse for local elected officials or their constituents. Gov. Brian Kemp followed that up by choosing to build a fence around the Capitol last summer instead of finding ways to bring the Atlanta community together.
“The SPLC hopes to encourage open dialogue by supporting Georgians working to remove Confederate symbols from their public spaces, many under pressure not only from opposing groups, but their own elected officials. We also hope to give visitors to the area pause during a holiday weekend that celebrates American independence.”
*Seven Confederate symbols were removed from Georgia’s public spaces in 2020. So far in 2021, 1 statue has been removed; 1 statue has been relocated; and at least 3 symbols are pending removal or rename across the state.
To learn more about efforts to change the name of Wheeler High School and to support student activists, please share and sign their petition.