DAHLONEGA, Ga. - A group of University of North Georgia students rallied against what they said is an ugly sign of hate Tuesday night.
They and others are calling for a boycott of the businesses operated by Roberta Green-Garrett. She’s the owner of a building where last week a Ku Klux Klan sign mysteriously appeared.
“Look at the crowd that’s out here tonight,” proclaimed Jeremy Sharp, a University of North Georgia student who helped organize the gathering in Room 14 at the UNG campus.
He was among a broad coalition of student organizations, business people and non-profits represented.
“Who are organized and prepared to boycott the businesses of Roberta Green-Garrett,” said Sharp to the crowd.
The sign hanging from her building, proclaiming it as a historic KKK meeting hall, drew wide condemnation when it was first believed to be an act of vandalism.
The ire is only growing now that city officials and the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office said the Ms. Garrett approved the sign.
“I question whether or not Roberta herself holds these values. It’s as simple as denouncing what’s happened and letting us heal,” said Dayton Carter, another UNG student who spoke to the crowd.
A woman taking measurements around the building where the sign hung said no comment when approached by FOX 5 News. When reached by FOX 5 News Ms. Garrett also said “no comment.”
The city said the first sign did not meet regulations and that Ms. Garrett has not yet filed for an application for another sign of which content is not the issue.
“We can’t regulate the content of the sign as long as it fits the regulations we have in place right now,” said Gary McCullough, Mayor of Dahlonega.
The student group acknowledged her first amendment rights, but said they have their options, too.
“She does has have Free Speech, but we have the Right to Assembly, we have the right to organize. We have the right to boycott her businesses,” said Sharp.
Many made reference to Ms. Garrett’s ongoing efforts to tear down another of her buildings to make way for a boutique hotel.
“If we cave to her we might as well name this town Robertaville,” shouted one woman in the crowd.
The loosely-based coalition maintains it will keep up pressure to assure the KKK sign never returns, saying it hurts the town’s image and economy.
“We’re looking at this that it is a nuisance,” said Sharp.
The mayor hopes the KKK sign doesn’t make another appearance.