"Thirty Months Ago, the People of Newnan, the Businesses of Newnan, the Churches of Newnan, the Political Leaders of Newnan, and most importantly, The Children of Newnan came together as one, yet each in their own way, to Declare Loudly that Hate Does Not Belong in Newnan.
In churches, I saw white preachers share heart-wrenching stories of them realizing the history of slave ownership in their family—old family wills indicating the monetary value of a slave and how that life was worth less than some farm equipment. I saw black preachers tell their stories.
In a Park called Lynch, Christians, Jewish People, Muslims came together to share their message of Unity. I saw a town rise to support their local businesses, and I saw a beautiful Prayer Walk through the square. I saw the Children of Newnan give the Nazi's a Proper Loving Welcome and a Beautiful Stage from which to spew their hatred. I saw the young men and women of Newnan take to the streets and Peacefully Confront these Reactionaries and Stand Up in Unity with their neighbors who felt under threat that day.
In the Thirty Months since, I have seen Regular People Step into The Shoes of Greatness by Finding Ways To Serve. I have seen Aubrey Spragins and the Newnan Presbyterian Church invite Kurdish refugee, former dishwasher, and now an Emory Doctor, Heval Kelli and former KKK member Chris Buckley to share their story of Unity.
I have seen the First African American Woman to sit on the Newnan City Council and become Mayor Pro-Tem Unite hand-in-hand with a District Attorney whose family name rings loudly in the History of Newnan Lynchings to bring diverse preachers and business leaders together to find common ground and understanding-- the first steps to any healing—which must lead to Truth and Reconciliation.
I have seen success and failures, but most importantly, I have seen people that care about their community enough to simply TRY-- and that is the least any of us imperfect humans can do.
In the wake of the Extrajudicial Execution of George Floyd my eyes were privileged to witness Twenty Straight Nights of Peaceful Protest on YOUR Town Square. Twenty Days of sharing stories, Twenty Days of coming together, Twenty Days of building community and family, Twenty Days of saying, "No More!"
Out of the successes of the spontaneous marches, a group was formed. Citizens for Positive Reform has brought together a rich and diverse group of people. People from all walks of life have United to learn about the history of this historic city, to serve by participating in food drives and book drives.
We have forged relationships with local law enforcement and elected leaders, and we have marched to hold those leaders to account. We have spoken eloquently inside the council chambers, and we have spoken rambunctiously outside those chambers. Now, Thirty Months removed from when the Nazis came, at a time when our country seems divided, we invite the community to Walk in Unity with us.
We Will Walk in Unity in parts of Newnan that have been a vital part of this community since it’s founding, yet they receive no Historic Designation.
We Invite ALL parts of our diverse community to Walk in Unity with us, while we observe all health guidelines. This country and our community is at its best when we are United, like we seemed to be on that day, Thirty Months Ago."
Citizens for Positive Reform (CPR) Task Force