Protesters outside Augusta National look to change Georgia voting rights

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Amanda King, Augusta Chronicle
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — A statewide church group and other organizations gathered near the Augusta National Golf Club to rally for a change in the new Georgia voting law and end what they called “Jim Crow 2.0.”

About three dozen people attended to encourage corporations attending or sponsoring the tournament to take a stand against Senate Bill 202, which they say limits voting specifically for Blacks.

Representatives from the Augusta NAACP also called on changes to the law at the protest at Washington and Berckmans roads. The bill, political action chair Jorae Jenkins said, makes it difficult for people to vote because of changes to absentee ballots. Moving the Masters is not necessarily the goal, she said, but for corporations to remove sponsorships.

“Other major organizations have come out and take a stand against this bill,” she said. “It would be nice to see people that are here that are sponsors to do the same thing and that they agree that this bill is not right and we have to take a stand.”

Last week Major League Baseball announced that the All-Star Game would be played in Colorado as opposed to Atlanta due to the bill. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is a member of Augusta National and earlier this week Sen. Marco Rubio asked him if he would remove his membership. Manfred has not responded.

“(Manfred) has made that deliberate decision so maybe he can use his influence to influence other corporate leaders to know that Georgia must deal with the suppressive law that has been put in place,” Rev. Fer-Rell Malone Sr., senior pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Waycross, said.

Augusta National Golf Club and Masters Tournament Chairman Fred Ridley said Wednesday he opposed a boycott or other punitive measure as burdensome “on the most vulnerable,” including Augustans, but declined to condemn the voting law.

“The right to vote is fundamental in our democratic society. No one should be disadvantaged in exercising that right, and it is critical that all citizens have confidence in the electoral process,” Ridley said during his annual address.

Daniel Thomas, the social action chairman of the Augusta Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, said Saturday it is a “hallowed responsibility of corporations” to make sure every citizen has the right and opportunity to vote.

Related

Lynch: A boycott won't stop Georgia's voter suppression, but golf's clout can make a 'major' difference

Opinion: Augusta National is unlikely host to social activists as sports world focuses on Georgia

PGA Tour: Despite new Georgia voting law, Tour Championship isn't moving

Civil rights group calls for PGA Tour, Masters to pull event from Augusta National in protest of Georgia's new voting law

The law, Pastor James Reid of Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church said, is retaliation for former President Donald Trump’s loss in Georgia.

“It’s all well and good to come in and enjoy the wonderfulness of the Masters, but have the conscientiousness of the least of these who are still suffering and want to vote effectively,” he said.

“It’s all well and good to come in and enjoy the wonderfulness of the Masters, but have the conscientiousness of the least of these who are still suffering and want to vote effectively,” said Pastor James Reid of Piney Grove Missionary Church during the protest Saturday in Augusta against Georgia Senate Bill 202.

Reginald T. Jackson, presiding bishop of the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and one of the event’s organizers, was unable to attend due to a funeral but, in a statement, called for Masters Tournament leadership and golfers to denounce the bill.

“We did not call upon the Masters golf tournament not to have its tournament in Augusta, or criticize it for doing so,” he wrote. “But we are calling on the Masters Tournament and golfers to join with us and speak up and cry out against the passage of SB 202 in Georgia and similar legislation, in fact, more than 300 bills in more than 40 other states.”

Jenkins said she and others will not stop fighting for the people of Georgia and will make sure residents “are taken care of.” Reid echoed those sentiments in continuing to fight.

“It’s time for everyone to start getting into some good trouble,” he said.