It was a procession of a dozen hearses and cars that made its way to the Georgia State Capitol Thursday. The mock funeral was staged just hours before Georgia’s stay-at-home order was to expire at 11:59pm.
Organized by GA Coalition 2 Save Lives, the processional wound its way from Carl Williams Funeral Home in southwest Atlanta to the Georgia Capitol and then circled Grady and Crawford Long hospitals. It then moved towards the Governor’s Mansion in the Buckhead community of Atlanta.
Atlanta Civil Rights Attorney Mawuli Davis said the mock funeral was to “illustrate the deadly consequences of Governor Kemp’s “reopening of Georgia” by rescinding his sheltering in place order. “
Governor Brian Kemp said in a statement Thursday afternoon “Tonight at 11:59 P.M., the statewide shelter in place order for most Georgians will expire. However, moving forward, I am urging Georgians to continue to stay home whenever possible.”
Kemp extended the public health state of emergency for medically fragile Georgians through June 12. “The health and well-being of Georgians are my top priorities, and my decisions are based on data and advice from health officials” said Kemp adding, “I will do what is necessary to protect the lives - and livelihoods - of our people.”
As of noon Thursday, the Georgia Department of Public Health said there were 26,173 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state with 1,124 deaths and 5,161 hospitalizations.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 disproportionately affects black and other non-white Americans. According to the NAACP “the overall death rate in Georgia is about 4% while the death rate of black COVID-19 patients is more than 9%.”
Dressed in black, those inside the hearses and cars wore gloves and masks as suggested by the CDC.
At the capitol protest organizers lifted up pictures and names of the Georgia victims of COVID-19, and called on at least 10,000 people to sign a petition demanding that Kemp not reopen Georgia by midnight tonight.
The coalition of lawyers, civil and human rights organizations, faith leaders, community members, and elected officials said they are “working to save the lives of Georgia’s citizens who will face life-threatening consequences as a result of Governor Kemp’s reopening of Georgia.”
The group also encouraged cities and counties “to issue executive orders, ordinances or resolutions diring their citizens to engage in protective behaviors to safeguard their health and well-being, as recommended by the CDC and federal guidelines.”
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