Ryan Coogler Pens Essay About Filming ‘Black Panther II’ in Georgia Amid Voting Law Backlash

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Ryan Lattanzio
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Writer, director, and producer Ryan Coogler wants to keep production on “Black Panther II,” expected to begin this July, in Georgia. But recent backlash over the passage of voting law SB 202 in March has led to Hollywood questioning its relationship in the state, while also leveraging its powers to bring attention to what’s at stake for voters. Coogler has written a new essay, shared with outlets including Shadow and Act, speaking out against the voting law and outlining initiatives to fight back. Read below.

The fight for full enfranchisement is fundamental to the African-American struggle in this country and to this country’s claim to functioning democracy. As an African-American, and as a citizen, I oppose all attempts, explicit and otherwise, to shrink the electorate and reduce access to the ballot. I say this as I return to Georgia, a state that holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Atlanta for eight months while filming my last movie. I have long looked forward to returning. But, when I was informed of the passage of SB202 in the state, and its ramifications for the state’s voters, I was profoundly disappointed.

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While I wished to turn my concern into action, I could not do so without first being educated on the specifics of Georgia. Having now spoken with voting rights activists in the state, I have come to understand that many of the people employed by my film, including all the local vendors and businesses we engage, are the very same people who will bear the brunt of SB202. For those reasons, I will not be engaging in a boycott of Georgia. What I will be doing is using my voice to emphasize the effects of SB202, it’s shameful roots in Jim Crow, and doing all I can to support organizations fighting voter suppression here in the state.

Senate Bill 202 will:

The U.S. House passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act. This key legislation will make critical reforms for voting rights. The Senate must now do its job by passing S. 1.

H.R. 1 will expand access to the ballot by:

H.R. 1 fights back against Republicans’ assault on voting rights by:

H.R. 1 also ends partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters.

The For the People Act has broad-based support for its provisions to:

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would bring back pre-clearance which is needed now more than ever.

Our film [Black Panther II] is staying in Georgia. Additionally, I have made a personal commitment to raise awareness about ways to help overturn this harmful bill, and continue to get educated on this matter from people on the ground. I will encourage everyone working with me to tap in with the local community directly affected by Senate Bill 202 and to leverage their influence and resources to aid in the fight for this particular and essential pillar of democracy.

I will also be donating to Fair Fight Action. You can do the same at www.stopjimcrow2.com.

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