Heritage of Hate -7

A Georgia activists group ‘Rise Up Georgia’ gathered at Stone Mountain Park, near Atlanta, Aug. 22, protesting Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of efforts to resist dismantling the Confederate monument attraction. The demonstration was planned to occur on the same location as a rally in support of Stone Mountain and the Confederate flag.

The group Rise Up Georgia displayed a large banner obscuring the mountain with the message “Heritage of Hate: Coke stop sponsoring racism.” The group claims that Confederate flags and other Confederate symbols in the park glorify the country’s history of racist hatred and should be removed.

The group further points to the Stone Mountain’s historical connection with the Ku Klux Klan as further evidence of its White supremacist legacy, one that Coca-Cola and other companies should not endorse.

Rise Up Georgia makes that case in an online petition on ColorofChange.org.

imagejpeg_1

“On the evening of November 25, 1915, a group of 16 men clad in robes and hoods ascended to the top of Stone Mountain, the largest mass of exposed granite in the world, 15 miles east of Atlanta, Georgia. Once on top, the men ignited a flaming cross, signaling the second coming of the Ku Klux Klan, which had been dormant for 40 years. The events of that night set decades of white supremacist violence and terror by the KKK in motion, with Stone Mountain at the center,” the petition read.

“One hundred years later, and the mountain has been transformed into Stone Mountain Park, Georgia’s number one tourist attraction… a reminder of our state’s brutal history,” it continued. “By investing millions of dollars into the park through sponsorships, Coca-Cola is condoning the racism and hatred that these symbols represent to so many people.”

Nationwide criticism of the Confederate flag gained new strength after nine African American worshippers were slaughtered in a Charleston, S.C. church June 17. The alleged assailant, a self-avowed White supremacist, posed for photos with the rebel banner.

Led by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the state’s lawmakers voted to remove the Confederate flag, a divisive symbol,  from the Statehouse in July. And, many felt similar action should have been taken at the state-owned Stone Mountain Park.

ShareACokeConfederateShare

But state law prevents removal of the flags, which are considered a memorial, an officer of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association told CBS News.

And, supporters of the flag said it is a legitimate artifact of the country’s heritage and history, as it celebrates the bravery of Confederate soldiers who fought in the American Civil War.

But there are less divisive ways of celebrating that heritage, opponents say.

“I have direct ancestors who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. I recognize that it is a part of my history but it doesn’t have to be my legacy,” said Margaret Kraft of Doraville, Ga., one of the activists calling upon Coca-Cola to retract its perceived support of racist symbols in Georgia. “We don’t need the heritage of the confederacy to be proud southerners. In fact we can’t be proud until we do away with these symbols and build a society worth memorializing. Hopefully Coke gets that message and drops their sponsorship of hatred.”

This is the second protest at Stone Mountain in the past month. Coca-Cola has not issued an official response to the petition.

See petition here: http://bit.ly/HeritageOfHate