As Juneteenth becomes federal holiday, Cobb leadership under Cupid lags behind
After growing support nationwide, Juneteenth, the day enslaved people in Texas learned they were free, is now a federal holiday. Long before the decision to make Juneteenth a holiday, governments including the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County, were already honoring the day. With one of the most racist past in the state, the city of Stone Mountain found its way to hold its first ever Juneteenth celebration, which some say is part of their ongoing effort to repudiate their racist history. However, there were governments that did not honor Juneteenth including our own Cobb County government, now under its first African American Chairman, Lisa Cupid.
Honoring federal holidays are not mandatory for businesses, but customary for governments to observe. Although there has been no consistent strategy on the books, many have historically observed the days around Juneteenth with community celebrations and reflections. There were events planned by Cobb NAACP and others around the county this weekend, however, there was nothing being led by Cupid on behalf of Cobb.
For years, different governments and businesses around the country have implemented ways to pay tribute including closing their doors and giving employees a paid day off to reflect. In the past, many government entities have been generally slow to move beyond issuing proclamations or passing resolutions, such is the case with Cobb County. With the 19th of June becoming a holiday, will this change next year for Cobb’s diverse workforce and a diverse community looking for the leadership it was promised? What is the plan for 2022 is the question we are asking in South Cobb…what is the plan Chair Cupid?
Cupid’s past position, or lack thereof, for Juneteenth is startling and amazing in contrast to her support of civil war honors and memorabilia in Mableton, which she voted for just a few days before Juneteenth was signed into law. In our community of South Cobb, it is disheartening to see Cupid move swiftly to honor confederate battlefields and the civil war, but fail to act in any meaningful way to honor Juneteenth beyond showing up with her bodyguard by her side at celebrations led by others.
How Juneteenth impacts us in Cobb County going forward under the leadership of Cupid is depended upon Cupid. The Chair seems to have lost her voice on this subject, but many in the community say she never had one. However, they point to her voice being quite strong and clear when voting yes for civil war commemorations in Mableton, a war that was fought to keep Blacks enslaved. The Chairs juxtaposed position leaves many in our South Cobb community questioning Cupid’s leadership. Some say she just got into the role, while others point to the fact that Cupid has been on the commission for years and has never led the discussion on this topic in our community. They say Cupid brags and boosts to those within ear shot that she has the three votes needed to get anything done in Cobb she wants done. Let’s see what she does with those votes relative to Juneteenth.
Some say Cupid should redirect money she is allegedly including in the budget for ‘slush fund accounts’ to something in honor of Black people in Cobb. Others say the same effort and resources Cupid has used to honor the civil war should be doubled to honor the slaves and their ancestors and it starts with Juneteenth.
To make up for some of her ongoing civil war sponsorships, endorsements, and promotions, Cupid should act quickly to honor Black history across Cobb. First, she must move the County to become a more equitable Cobb by removing herself from the ongoing love affair she has has with civil war preservationist in our community. Next, Cupid must be for all the people of Cobb, not just a select few who she has collaborated with behind the scenes for outcomes that hurt our diverse community.
Cupid went on for months boasting about becoming the first African American woman to serve as chair and telling people to vote for her for that reason. Once elected, she championed two civil war parks in Mableton. So much for the Black vote she “misused” on her way to the top elected position. Cupid failed to recognize the stain of slavery in Cobb County or do something about it to reverse the harm. Whatever her love affair is with the civil war, we cannot allow it to hurt our diverse community.
There is more work to be done in Georgia and it starts here in our communities in Cobb County with Lisa Cupid. Honoring Juneteenth in Cobb County government and in our community are steps Cupid can take now towards greater equity and equality across Cobb County.