At the Occupy Atlanta rally on yesterday evening, Congressman and Civil Rights hero, John Lewis, was not allowed to speak. About 200 protesters. who are modeling their efforts after that of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York City, gathered in Woodruff Park as a “general assembly”. Now on the Occupy Atlanta website, the group states:
We are the 99 percent. We will no longer remain silent. Have your voice heard at the next Atlanta General Assembly. We are in solidarity with our fellow citizens at Occupy Wall Street and are planning occupation in Atlanta. Join us.
Congressman Lewis, the Representative for Georgia’s fifth congressional district, apparently planned to join them and say a few words. However, the democratic demonstrators, who have no specific leader and seemingly make decisions only if there is a consensus, decided not to let the Congressman address the assembly. Though they admire Mr. Lewis’ exceptional work, they appear to be firm believers that no other person is necessarily more important than any other person. Therefore, the assembly opted to have him speak at a later time when anyone was allowed to do the same.
That makes sense in theory, but, unfortunately, Congressman Lewis (who probably has a pretty busy daily schedule) had a meeting and was unable to wait until the designated time. While exiting, Lewis told the media, “I was going to say, I stand with you. I support you, what you’re down[doing(?)].” See video of how it all went down below:
Occupy Atlanta: Congressman John Lewis Not Allowed To Speak (Video)
Was the Occupy Atlanta demonstrators’ decision disrespectful? Outlandish? Maybe even racist? Congressman John Lewis was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement. So, if there is anyone who knows something about protests against the government and trying to change the status quo, it’s John Lewis. That being said, though the general assembly’s decision will most likely be criticized by many, they did not compromise one of their fundamental principles. And, I will not fault them for that.
How about you? Do you think they should have let Congressman John Lewis speak? Let me know on Twitter and/or post a comment in the box below.