Coke Is Currently Funding a Confederate Theme Park
While it’s been a long time coming, 2015 has been the year in which policy makers have finally taken steps to dismantle the ‘cultural heritage’ and ‘ historical preservation’ rhetoric that surrounds the Confederate flag. After the horrific shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a church that is an essential part of African American history, was confirmed to be an act motivated by pure racism and inspired by the Confederate South, pressure came from everywhere to remove the ‘Blood Stained Banner’ from government houses, online shops, and from public view entirely. Thankfully, with enough advocation, the South Carolina State House removed the flag from their premises. However for every step forward, we seemed to be pushed back five more: Stone Mountain, a popular amusement park in Georgia which celebrates Confederate history, has a longstanding partnership with Coca Cola.
The park boasts a laser light show, hiking trails, oh, and a carving in the mountain of notable Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson, which is actually even larger than Mount Rushmore. On top of that, there’s a ‘stars and bars’ flag flying high, a complete recreation of an Antebellum style plantation, and a museum dedicated to Confederate history. However, it’s not exactly ‘history.’ Their version emphasizes a fight for ‘state rights,’ which is a very common narrative for supporters of the ultimate racist emblem to adhere to. Along with all of this, Stone Mountain was also the site of a Ku Klux Klan revival in 1915, where members burnt a cross atop the mountain. Martin Luther King Jr. even mentioned the park in his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. At this point, trying to distance themselves from the racism that their facilities are entrenched in is impossible.
The unfortunate, and honestly shocking, part about this story is the huge partnership the park shares with Coke. The site proudly totes the soft drink as its ‘exclusive beverage partner’, as the sole sponsor for their winter attraction Snow Mountain, and offers discounted tickets when using the promo code ‘SHAREACOKE.’ On Coke’s site, they have their own attraction packages promoting the theme park.
Thankfully, we’re not the only ones to find glaring issues with the partnership. The Atlanta chapter of the NAACP has called for the two companies to end their relationship. Richard Rose, president of the chapter, has said of the mountain carving, "That carving is a great piece of art, but it was commissioned out of hate and white supremacy." Protesters have also risen up to take a stance, releasing a banner to cover the carving that said, “Heritage of Hate: Coke Supports Racism,” and creating a petition imploring Coca Cola to end its support. The petition only needs less than 200 signatures to hit its goal. Here’s hoping that the literal funding of racist institutions can be put to an end with this example.
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