Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp makes remarks during a press conference at Liberty Plaza. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: Alyssa Pointer/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Open letter to the Governor

Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent last week. It is reprinted here in its entirety. A list of the more than 100 entities and persons who signed it can be found at the bottom of this page in .PDF format.

Honorable Brian Porter Kemp

May 6, 2020

In the spirit of working together, the Georgia Coalition 2 Save Lives urgently requests a meeting with you to discuss ways to mitigate the continuing spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease. We represent millions of Georgians from diverse and broad-based communities of faith, business, legal, healthcare professionals and community and civil rights organizations. All of us are alarmed by the images we see of people interacting in public without adhering to safety measures. This poses a risk not only to their own health, but also the health of the general public, including essential workers, employees of newly reopened businesses and people in vulnerable and rural communities.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows African Americans make up a staggering 83% of Georgians who have been hospitalized with COVID-19. This statistic merits tailoring and targeting life-saving measures to communities of color, the elderly, and within Georgia’s extremely vulnerable prison populations, whose infection and death numbers are increasing rapidly.

Our coalition has ideas to discuss with you to achieve our mutual goal of promoting the safety and health of everyone in our state.

We share your concern about the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 cases because Georgia has not met the federal guidelines that recommended sheltering in place until there is a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period. The current lack of widely available COVID-19 and antibody testing, along with contact tracing, means that we are not able to flatten the curve as we all want to do. One immediate step that would help is an order that would mandate and supply protective equipment like masks and hand sanitizers in public spaces and in all businesses that bring people into close contact. The general public should also be encouraged to wear masks whenever they leave their homes.

We ask that you meet with us as soon as possible and also consider the input of legislators and other local leaders in Georgia who want to collaborate with you to ensure the safety of their constituents and communities throughout the state.

The Georgia Coalition 2 Save Lives requests to meet on or before Tuesday, May 12, 2020. This life-altering crisis calls for consultation, collaboration, and cooperation among us all, especially when vulnerable and rural communities are still facing high death rates from an invisible enemy. Georgians will benefit from a consensus among political and community leaders to guide a moral and ethical response plan that addresses both the health and economic implications of the COVID-19 crisis. Please contact Mawuli Davis, Esq., … to schedule the requested meeting.

We look forward to working with you to make our state one that wins the battle against COVID-19!

Respectfully,

Georgia Coalition 2 Save Lives

ORIGINAL DOCUMENT: READ THE LETTER

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