Activists Target Coca Cola at Stone Mountain for Supporting Park
(APN) STONE MOUNTAIN, Georgia — Opposing forces struggle for the mind and soul of the U.S. South, as the controversy over the meaning of the Confederate battle flag and Confederate monument plays out at Stone Mountain Park.
On Saturday, August 22, 2015, activists from Rise Up Georgia flew a banner connecting Coca Cola’s funding of the park to the racist history of the confederate flag and the confederate monument that memorializes Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.
Activists flew the twenty-plus foot banner, held up by two huge helium balloons that read “Heritage of Hate Cola-Cola Supports Racism,” for over two hours, and partly blocking the view of the monument.
Stone Mountain State Park was once owned by the Venable Brothers. Sam Venable was involved in the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915 and the creation of the Confederate memorial. The Klan held rallies and cross burnings on top of the mountain and they were granted an easement to the mountain in 1923.
“There is a difference between a historical monument and something that was created privately and specifically with the intention of honoring a legacy of White supremacy,” Jim Chambers, with Rise Up Georgia, told Atlanta Progressive News.
“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,” Margaret Kraft said in a Rise Up press statement.
“The point of the action was Coca-Cola, trying to present themselves as a progressive company who represents all of the people, should not be funding a monument to White supremacy,” Chambers told APN.
Rise Up Georgia has launched an online petition and plan to continue targeting Coca-Cola until they agree to end their sponsorship of the park.
By investing millions of dollars into the park through sponsorships, activists say that Coca-Cola is condoning the racism and hatred that these symbols represent to so many people.
Since the mass murder of nine Black churchgoers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina there have been over 173 pro-confederate flag rallies, mostly in Southern States.
Stone Mountain Park has been the gathering place for two pro-confederate flag rallies in the past month.