Decatur residents at a city hall rally on Friday, May 29, 2020, that was provoked by a student’s racist video. TY TAGAMI / AJC
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Decatur rights group cancels anti-racism rally, fearing violence

A Decatur human rights group has postponed a Sunday afternoon anti-racism rally in the city square out of fear for the safety of participants after an Atlanta protest turned violent Friday.

“Unfortunately, with the current sense of rage that many people are feeling, combined with the presence of agent provocateurs, we are deeply concerned about our ability to maintain a peaceful gathering,” the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights announced on its Facebook page Saturday afternoon.

The rally was spurred by a racist video made by a local student now in high school. It was reportedly made a year ago when the boy was 14 but surfaced this week. It prompted an anguished and angry rebuke from the city schools superintendent and then a rally on the steps of Decatur City Hall.


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The Friday morning rally began several hours before the Atlanta protest, which was spurred by the death of George Floyd, a black man, under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.

The video of the Decatur student shows him waving what looks to be a toy gun and saying he uses it to kill black people. He employs a racial epithet to describe them.

It was the latest of several racist videos to emerge from the city in the past month.

The message it sent for Mawuli Davis, co-chair of the Beacon Hill group: “Black lives still don’t matter.”

“We’re hearing the voices of African American residents who are angry, outraged and concerned that anyone would feel comfortable recording something like that and sharing it,” he said Thursday.

White people must work against racism, he said. “It is deep-seated in Georgia.”

There was no new date set for the postponed rally, but the Beacon Hill group said it planned to hold an online “Talk Back” forum where young people in Decatur could discuss what they are feeling.

>> RELATED: Violence rocks Atlanta as peaceful protest ends in flames

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>> COMPLETE COVERAGE: Atlanta protests 

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