The Athens-Clarke County Commission will vote on an anti-discrimination ordinance tonight at 7PM. The ordinance requires bars to place a dress code outside of their doors. The bars will also have to let potential customers know whether the establishment has been leased to a private party. Mayor Nancy Denson says if the ordinance is passed it will go into effect immediately. If bars fail to follow the regulations they could lose their license to serve alcohol.
Mayor Denson says she and the commissioners first heard allegations of discrimination at local bars when the University of Georgia Student Government Association conducted a survey. Denson said the survey results prompted city-county government leaders to draft the ordinance to make sure instances of discrimination do not occur in the area.
While Denson said she supports the anti-discrimination legislation she is concerned about a second proposal by a local civil rights organization.The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, the group that led the charge for the anti-discrimination ordinance also wants local government to establish and fund a local Human Civil Rights Committee.
“Yes, no doubt that’s (Human Civil Rights Committee) is the ultimate goal.” – Mokah Johnson
Denson says there are processes already in place to deal with complaints of discrimination.
“An individual can file a complaint with the EEOC and the EEOC does the investigation” – Denson
Mayor Denson says she recognizes that people don’t always know what to do in certain situations and adds that educating people about the process is key.
Check out this explainer by Reporter LaPorsche Thomas and Reporter Leah La Rosa
By: LaPorsche Thomas