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Activists Push to Add Civil Rights Committee to Anti-Discrimination Law


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Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

An MLK Day march in January.

Athens for Everyone and the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement—two groups that have been a big part of the push for a local anti-discrimination ordinance—say they will oppose the ordinance unless the Athens-Clarke County Commission includes a civil rights committee.

As proposed, the ordinance would allow city officials to suspend or revoke the alcohol licenses of bars that discriminate against certain patrons, but would not protect minorities from discrimination at any other local businesses.

“We believe if this ordinance is passed as it stands, it will not protect local citizens or UGA students from being discriminated against in downtown Athens or surrounding areas,” A4E said in a statement. “We’re pleading with our local government to partner with local citizens, businesses, and officials by establishing an Athens Civil Rights Committee (ACRC) to help ensure justice and equality occurs in Athens Clarke-County.”

Atlanta and several other cities have human relations commissions that adjudicate claims of discrimination. A4E’s proposed framework for an Athens civil rights committee can be found here.

The process for filing a complaint is ambiguous, and gathering evidence to present to the county attorney’s office will be difficult, AADM leader Mokah Johnson added.

The ACC Commission will discuss the proposed ordinance at its agenda-setting meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, and is scheduled to vote Sept. 7.