(Photo via Southern Company)

Georgia Power and Coalition of Georgia Businesses Urge Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation

Originally published on southerncompany.com.

Georgia Power, along with a coalition of leading Georgia businesses, have signed a letter asking the Georgia General Assembly to support, approve and sign into law a comprehensive, specific and clear bill against hate crimes.

House Bill 426, also known as the Georgia Hate Crimes Act, was passed by the Georgia House last year, but it is still with the Georgia Senate. The Senate will reconvene its session on Monday, June 15.

In the wake of the death of George Floyd and others, and the social unrest that has followed, many Georgia-based companies, including UPS, Coca-Cola, Delta, AT&T, Truist, WestRock, Genuine Parts, PulteGroup, Home Depot, Cox Enterprises, BlackRock, Salesforce, United Distributors, Invesco, Microsoft and the Metro Atlanta Chamber, are asking the state’s legislature to take action and pass the comprehensive hate crimes bill to ensure the safety of all Georgians.

“Racism, intolerance or discrimination of any kind have no place in our communities or our company,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “We stand united with these companies as we commit to finding solutions to help make our communities better for every citizen and create an inclusive environment for everyone.”

In addition to signing the letter, the group of companies are launching a website, www.passhatecrimesga.com to help others encourage Georgia lawmakers to pass the bill. That website houses talking points about the legislation, ways for individuals to contact their local senators or state representatives and information on how other companies can join the coalition.

The full letter appears below.

We, the undersigned organizations, stand committed to building a better basis for peace and prosperity across our state and our country, founded on justice for all. We are all employers in Georgia who value diversity, fairness and inclusion.

Georgia businesses employ millions of citizens from all walks of life. They represent our state’s rich tapestry of diversity. Georgia is annually hailed as one of the “Best places to do business,” and in order to maintain that reputation, and encourage prospective companies to locate here and workers to live here, we must also be in the business of advancing policies that support the positive change and social impact our communities need in order to build a more just and inclusive world.

As the General Assembly goes back into session, we write to urge you to support, approve and sign into law a comprehensive, specific and clear bill against hate crimes. We must all stand strong and united against targeted violence and bigotry. Diversity extends to a wide range of issues from race and ethnicity, to gender, sexual orientation, religion and physical ability, among other important characteristics that make each of us different but also deserving of protection from any attack that is motivated by hatred for the victim due to bias or prejudice.

We must come together, engage in tough conversations, and find solutions to make our communities and our country a place of hope and not despair, where diversity is celebrated and justice is assured. Georgia’s economic future and the dignity of our citizens depend on it.

We stand ready to provide you any assistance or support you may need to pass a hate crimes bill in Georgia and affirm that hate has no place in Georgia.

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