The recently installed rainbow crosswalks provide a prominent message of inclusiveness in Athens, and, at the same time, shine a light on a significant symbol of oppressiveness and exclusion sitting on the steps of City Hall.
The double-barreled cannon located at City Hall in Athens needs to be removed. Like the removed Confederate monument on Broad Street, the Civil War cannon equally represents and glorifies the Southern blight of slavery.
The Athens Mayor and Commission should continue the process of inclusiveness by removing the cannon from its prominent position. It only serves as a reminder of the South’s dark past and is most certainly offensive to people of color who pass by the cannon each day.
Of course, this same mayor and commission could have exercised true, non-selective inclusiveness by not having removed the Confederate monument in the first place, avoiding the obvious hypocrisy they now face by keeping the cannon in place.
In America, of all places on earth, rainbow crosswalks and a Confederate monument should be able to coexist. Clearly, the University of Georgia embraces this coexistence and with demonstrable meaning. Buildings named after former presidents believed to have been slave owners, including Waddell, Meigs and Mell, stand among the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building, named to honor those who overcame oppression and the shadow of slavery to attend that very same university.
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