FLASHBACK: Stacey Abrams Changes Her Mind on Cultural Radicalism and Hops on the Monument Removal Bandwagon
Former Georgia Democratic State Representative LaDawn Jones has been one of the biggest proponents of removing Confederate monuments in recent years.
Back in 2015, she urged for a boycott of Georgia’s Stone Mountain after a deranged shooter killed nine church attendees in Charleston, South Carolina. She argued that the Confederate memorial carving motivated so-called “far-right” extremism.
Jones was met with strong opposition from GOP state representative Jason C. Spencer, who viewed the monument as a part of Georgia history.
Throughout her time fighting for Confederate memorial removals, Jones encountered stiff resistance from both parties.
During the 2015-2016 legislative session, Jones was one of three cosponsors of HB 760 which would have converted Stone Mountain from a Confederate memorial to a Civil War memorial.
In a blog post from 2017, Jone said she had pushed for House Democrats to get behind the idea of removing Confederate artifacts from Stone Mountain after the 2015 Charleston shooting.
However, Jones wrote that then-House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams rejected her proposal for the bill.
“As leader of the caucus, support includes being a sponsor on the bill,” she told The Intercept. “Getting other allies to support it was my first ask.” Abrams “was not interested in that,” Jones stated.
Jones made an attempt to get Abrams and other elected officials to take a caucus-wide stance on the bill. In Jones’ view at the time, many Georgia House members are reluctant to take caucus positions because if “one of your caucus members does not stand in line, it kind of weakens the value of taking a caucus position.” An informal poll was then taken.
Jones said that “Her [Abrams] answer again to that was no.”
Jones proceeded to get Democratic state House officials to take joint stances. ”Even if we don’t do legislation, we can do a press conference, we can do a statement, we can do something as a Democratic caucus,” she remarked. “Her response to that was, ‘No, that sounds like something you should do with the Legislative Black Caucus.’”
After the Charlottesville protests, Abrams finally decided to remove the Stone Mountain carving.
However, Zaid Jilani noted the following about Abram’s changing views on this position:
Abrams’s evolution on the issue fuels the type of criticism that has been leveled at her previously: that while she may be campaigning to the left during a primary contest, her record is far more moderate, notably when she backed GOP cuts to the state scholarship in 2011. (Abrams says that by working with Republicans on the cuts, she staved off what would have been more draconian reductions had she not engaged.)
A member of Abram’s campaign team attempted to respond to Jones’s blog post.“Abrams has led protests against the Confederate flag, and as minority leader, worked with Chairman Emeritus Calvin Smyre to secure the statue of Dr. King on the grounds of the Capitol. As a member of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus and as minority leader, she deferred to the leadership of the GLBC — who were spearheading the effort — regarding the 2015 debate. Rep. Jones did not submit legislation in 2016 for inclusion in the Georgia House Democratic Caucus agenda.”
Jilani brought this incident back into the spotlight on May 18, 2020.
He tweeted, “An Abrams story few know. After the Dylan Roof shooting, a state rep. asked her to support legislation to convert Stone Mountain (a confederate memorial in Georgia) into a civil war memorial. She refused to support it and refused to poll her caucus on it.”
Abrams is clearly an opportunist but also recognizes where the winds are blowing as far as the radical Left goes.
She will go on to take more radical positions on cultural issues as time goes on.