Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose speaks during the United We Shall Stand Rally in Piedmont Park, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, in Atlanta. The event was sponsored by the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Southern Poverty Law Center and activist groups Alliance for Black Lives and Georgia Alliance for Social Justice. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

At Piedmont Park civil rights rally, calls to keep speaking out

At the end of an NAACP-led rally at Piedmont Park Saturday afternoon, a group called the Resistance Revival Chorus led the dwindling crowd in a rendition of “We Shall Overcome.”

The rally of a coalition of civil rights groups was called to bring attention to racial inequality in the state while the nation’s eyes are on Atlanta during Super Bowl weekend. The gathering also spotlighted the case of Jimmy Atchison, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by Atlanta police last month while hiding in a closet.

Speakers also touched on gerrymandering, sex trafficking, voting rights and issues of unequal justice, said Richard Rose, the president of the Atlanta branch of the NAACP.

“We have to continue to speak out,” he said. “The Super Bowl is just a game. This is real life over here.”

Atlanta police estimated the crowd at fewer than 150 people. Many anti-fascist protesters who spent the morning marching in Stone Mountain Village came to Piedmont Park in the afternoon.

Rose said the groups had different tactics, but were in agreement about many issues.

Lecia Brooks, the outreach director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the crowd she hoped people would continue to be educated about the history and legacy of white supremacy.

“It’s a stain on our country’s history,” she said. “We do not need to commemorate these people.”

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