PHIL SKINNER / PSKINNER@AJC.COM

Open letters to Georgians

An open letter to people of Georgia

At the funeral of President George H.W. Bush, former United States Sen. Alan Simpson said former president Bush was a man without hate. Then he said something profound: “Hatred corrodes the container it is carried in.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Hate not only corrodes, but destroys everything it touches. It is the poison which spreads like wildfire and lays waste to everything in its wake. It divides and dissolves our nation into polar opposites. Hate harms all people of all colors, political persuasions and ages. This is not a partisan issue, it is a human one. The undersigned are members of both parties, united in a belief we can do better.

The General Assembly has a Hate Crimes Act pending before it for consideration. HB 426 has passed the House of Representatives and is pending in the Georgia Senate. We urge the passage of the bill so Georgia will leave the minority of five states which does not have a hate crimes law, and join the great majority of states which have taken a stand against hate. We urge the Georgia Senate to pass the bill without amendment and send it to Gov. Brian Kemp for approval.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It is time we help bend that arc further toward its destination.

THURBERT BAKER, FORMER GA. ATTORNEY GENERAL

ROY E. BARNES, FORMER GA. GOVERNOR

CASEY CAGLE, FORMER LT. GOVERNOR

MAX CLELAND, FORMER U.S. SENATOR

GEORGE W. DARDEN III, FORMER MEMBER OF CONGRESS

NATHAN DEAL, FORMER GA. GOVERNOR

SHIRLEY FRANKLIN, FORMER MAYOR, CITY OF ATLANTA

JOHNNY ISAKSON, FORMER U.S. SENATOR

SAM NUNN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR

SAM OLENS, FORMER GA. ATTORNEY GENERAL

DAN PONDER, FORMER MEMBER, GA. HOUSE

ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER MAYOR, CITY OF ATLANTA AND FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR

WENDELL WILLARD, FORMER MEMBER, GA. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Living up to Atlanta’s image as beacon for world

The Rotary Club of Atlanta was founded in 1913 by our city’s top business leaders with a mission that included tackling the most challenging issues of the time guided by the ideal of Service Above Self. Today we are faced with the greatest challenge in our history — helping eliminate racial and economic injustice in our city and beyond.

Our members, all leaders of top companies and nonprofit organizations, are committed to listen with open hearts and learn, and to step up to participate in and lead in our own organizations, communities and families to bring about the long-overdue changes.

It starts with getting our own house in order. Over the past several years, we have made the active commitment to improve diversity in our membership and in our program speakers. We view this commitment as vital to remain relevant to Atlanta. We have made progress, but our work in many respects has just begun. In the coming years, our goal is to be at the forefront in representing the diverse and talented leadership of this great city.

With this letter, we are soliciting help of those of YOU who are willing to join us in committing our heads, hearts and resources to address systemic challenges in race and economic inequality. The roots of these issues are complex, and the solutions to inequality will be multifaceted.

We want to live up to the image of Atlanta as a civil and human rights beacon for the world.

THE ROTARY CLUB OF ATLANTA

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