GRIFFIN, Ga. - Typically, a council meeting doesn't get much attention outside town, but outrage spread across the nation last week after a speaker addressing the Griffin council used a racial slur while making a case for a Confederate History Month proclamation.
Dozens gathered Tuesday on the steps of the Spalding County Courthouse, voicing their anger and demanding the proclamation be rescinded. But what initially felt like it could have been a heated meeting turned, for some, into healing.
"I've never felt strong enough before to stand up and make a statement. Tonight, I want to," said Bill Flatt, Griffin resident.
Those who met outside were met with some satisfaction inside.
A unanimous vote rescinded the proclamation naming April Confederate History Month in Griffin and Council Chairman Doug Hollberg said he should have stopped the use of racially offensive language at the meeting two weeks ago.
"I'm sorry I did not respond," the chairman said during the meeting.
Some citizens expressed relief.
"Only love can drive out hate, and we have to remember that," said one resident during the meeting.
Others were still frustrated with the board of commissioners.
"I know you did not intend to harm this community, I do not see this is an intent to harm, I see this as a failure of leadership," another speaker said.
One speaker said he was disappointed the proclamation about Confederate History Month was rescinded.
After the meeting, many of those who arrived upset left feeling this was the first step.
"A community coming together, we got it resolved, and we have a starting point," said Dorothy Smith, Locust Grove resident.
"Walking out of it elated. It happened out of an unfortunate event but I don't think we would've gotten where we are otherwise, it's just all about us moving forward to be an inclusive community and striving for success," said Dr. Yoshunda Jones, Griffin resident.