Oconee County’s two representatives in the Georgia General Assembly cast their votes late Thursday night with the House majority in favor of a bill that prohibits most abortions after a doctor can detect a heartbeat in the womb and with the minority against a hate crimes bill.
House Bill 481, officially called the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, passed narrowly at 10:45 p.m. on Thursday with 93 representatives, almost all Republicans, voting in favor, and 73 voting against.
House Bill 426, which would amend existing Georgia Code to provide criteria for imposition of punishment for defendants who select their victims based upon certain biases or prejudices, also passed narrowly with 96 voting in favor and 64 voting against.
New Mayor Kelly Girtz and four new Athens-Clarke County commissioners, along with re-elected incumbent Melissa Link, were sworn in Tuesday at City Hall, ushering in a new era of progressive politics for Athens.
A small group of protesters, including Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Mariah Parker, held signs at Friday's dedication ceremony for a memorial to slaves whose remains were found under Baldwin Hall to remind attendees of UGA's history of slavery.
“We are drawn here today by a deep sense of respect for these individuals and by a strong sense of duty to commemorate the lives they lived,” UGA President Jere Morehead said. “The memorial we are dedicating this morning will provide for an enduring tribute as well as a physical space for meaningful reflection in the future.”
None of the three speakers—Morehead, U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones and Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Michelle Cook—mentioned slaves or slavery.
Photo Credit: Karica Smith
The sixth annual Athens Hip Hop Awards took place last night, with this year's event placing a special emphasis on activism. Local performers, politicians and community organizers gathered for a full evening of music and much more, in an effort to celebrate local hip hop and the community that supports it.
Read more about the awards here. Below, check out this year's winners:
Photo Credit: Stacey-Marie Piotrowski
Just as Athens' event calendar revs up to full speed this time of year, local bands seem to drop new music left and right at the first signs of springtime. To wit, here are three recent tunes from across the stylistic spectrum, each of which is worthy of your attention.
It's the Year of the Dog—or Dawg, if you prefer—and the State Botanical Garden helped usher in the lunar new year with a celebration Saturday featuring crafts, food, storytelling, music and more.
Flagpole photographer Jessica Silverman captured the festivities, but if you missed them, don't worry: more are on the way, thanks to a Big Read project sponsored by the University of Georgia Department of Language and Literacy Education and the National Endowment for the Arts. This year's Big Read is based around To Live by Yu Hua and the work of the young-adult novelist Grace Lin.
After a day of service and other Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities, thousands of Athens residents gathered downtown for the second annual MLK Day parade, organized by the Athens Anti-Discrimination Coalition. Hundreds marched while a diverse group of thousands more watched, and the parade was followed by a festival with kids' activities, a market for black-owned businesses, food trucks and live music at the Hot Corner, historically Athens' center of African-American life.
Flagpole photographer Nicole Adamson documented the scene:
The Downtown Parade of Lights is perennially one of the most family-friendly and diverse events in Athens, and this year was no different. Sure, there were a few hiccups—one of George Bugg's classic cars stalled out with Mayor Nancy Denson riding shotgun; a runaway camel that wasn't really feeling being dressed like a dinosaur—but in the end, a good time was had by all. Except this little girl:
Photo Credit: Nate Harris
In response to the shooting at a church in Texas on Nov. 5 that killed 26 people, members of the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America gathered at City Hall in Athens on Saturday for a vigil for the victims, as well as a call to action.
The event, deeply rooted in faith, began at First A.M.E. Church before marchers made their way through downtown to City Hall. Many of the roughly 40 people held signs calling for an end to gun violence and a repeal of Georgia's campus carry law. During the procession, the group sang in unison, and was greeted by a church choir on the front steps of City Hall.
At City Hall, state Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) and others local leaders and gun safety advocates spoke to the crowd about the need for a solution to gun violence.
Photo Credit: Andrew D. Hurley/Wikimedia Commons
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