Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Seven score and ten years ago, a great American challenged the nation with a question that we are still in the process of answering:  whether any nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to equal protection under the law can long endure.  We are today met on one of the great battlefields of the struggle to perfect the union. 

Georgia was one of the first states to enact voter suppression, in the building behind us.  Georgia was one of the first states to enact two strikes and you are out.  Georgia is the home of life without parole under the so-called seven deadly sins.  Georgia leads the nation in striking black jurors from jury rolls.  Georgia has no expungement of criminal convictions.  Georgia has one of the largest prison populations in the nation.  And yes, it comes as no surprise that in the building behind us, Georgia was one of the first states in the nation to contort self defense into stand your ground.  Simply put, stand your ground is unfair, unworkable and unnecessary. 

When Lincoln spoke 150 years ago at Gettysburg, there was no 13th amendment, no fourteenth amendment and no 15th amendment.  Lincoln gave his last full measure of devotion and became the final casualty in the rebellion of the Confederacy against the United States of America.  We shall never know what a reconstructed south might have looked like, because Lincoln was cut down by an assassin.

It does not matter so much what we say here.  But it matters what we do when we leave here. We urge Governor Deal to put himself in the place of Kendrick Johnson’s family.  What would you want Governor, if your child or grandchild was found dead at school?  What would you expect, Governor, if your child, or your grandson’s vital organs went mysteriously missing.  Simple justice is all these parents want.  Convene a coroner’s inquiry today.

We must here highly resolve that the honored dead…Lincoln, Dr. King, Trayvon, Kendrick Johnson did not die in vain.  We must here highly resolve to continue the fight until the great experiment in self government is fully realized.  We must here dedicate ourselves to ensuring there is truly government of the people, by the people and for the people.


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