Georgia Dispatches: 2. Getting out the vote in Stone Mountain

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I practically did a double-take yesterday afternoon when Jovaun and I got sent out (after half a day of training) to Stone Mountain, twenty miles northeast of Atlanta.  Yes, this suburb of 5000 is also the site of America’s LARGEST Confederate Memorial – the three “heroes” of the Civil War, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, on horseback, hewn out of the solid granite of this unusual monadnock.

A “monadnock” is an isolated mountain, created millions of years ago by a pocket of magma trapped underground and finally coming to the surface by uplift and erosion.  As long ago as 4000 BC this Stone Mountain was both sacred and useful to the indigenous people of the Southeast; in the 19th century a lot of profitable granite mining was done there.  Then in the early and mid 20th century Stone Mountain became a point of pride for Southerners nostalgic for the Confederacy – the KKK held massive rallies atop the eminence. 

Nowadays millions of people a year visit and picnic at Stone Mountain Park, as politicians and activists debate keeping the Confederate sculpture, erasing it, or possibly adding better things to it.  Just this past August the park was the site of protests and counterprotests over the monument, at which people came to blows.

But Stone Mountain Village, the suburb at the foot of this mountain, is about 3/4 African-American, and that’s where we canvassed yesterday, the last day of November, trying our hardest to reach out to all the voters who came out in droves last month and mailed in their ballots in record numbers to make sure Biden won Georgia – a victory attributed largely to the black community.  And now, what a Biden administration will or will not be able to do for the nation depends on whether Georgia voters come out in force once again to vote for John Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.  Until then, we’ll be talking to them – one voter at a time.

Stone Mountain Village

The high point for us today was meeting a young female voter named Ave, a 21-year old senior in college.  She actually told us that she felt we were “God-sent,” because she was in the middle of writing a paper for a project regarding the runoff elections, and she needed more information.  Ave asked if she could record me and also take a picture of us.

Besides talking to voters about the importance of voting for Reverand Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff for US Senate, we’re also asking them to let us text them a link where they can request a mail in ballot so they can vote as early as possible. Ave was more than happy for me to text her that link.

After we left her house she immediately texted me to thank me for stopping by and she also mentioned that she starting a virtual voting party on social media soon after we left, in order to share the information we had just provided her, with her friends – image to right! And she sent me the picture she took of my son and me – below. (I only took off my face shield for the picture and I was ten feet away from the voter, bosses!) 

That might have been just one household, but talking to that one voter generated more than just one vote. It was absolutely awesome and inspiring.  Thank you, Ave!


Vern adds….

About Jorge Iniestra