There is an apparent injustice taking place in Quitman, Georgia, where 12 Blacks, including some elected officials, are being charged with crimes related to voter fraud — and two were literally stripped from political office. Their names are Angela Bryant, Sandra Cody, Debra Denard, Dr. Nancy Dennard, Robert Denard, Kechia Harrison, Latashia Head, Brenda Monds, April Proctor, Lula Smart, Elizabeth Thomas and Linda Troutman. They’re called The Quitman 10+2.
Although The Quitman 10+2 may not be a household name in the African-American community, they should be because, given the GOP determination to thwart Black voting strength, what happened to them could very well happen to you or a Black elected official in your area.
In 2010, the African-American community of Quitman chose three candidates to run for political office. Two were selected to run for a seat on the local school board, while one was selected to run for county supervisor. They won. Additionally, Dr. Nancy Dennard was elected chair of the school board.
Not everyone was pleased with the election results. Quitman’s Attorney General C. Gerald Spencer asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to launch a probe, which resulted in the initial arrest of 10 voters and Black elected officials, and later, two others. According to reports, the group is charged with multiple felony counts of Unlawful Possession of Ballots and Interfering With an Elector.
Although the collective has been charged with these crimes, as of this writing, they have yet to be arraigned even though they were arrested in 2010. Adding insult to injury, Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal removed Dr. Nancy Dennard and Linda Troutman from their positions on the school board via executive order, a strange and extreme move considering the fact neither one of these highly qualified educators has been convicted of their alleged crimes.
What is happening to the Quitman 10+2 is an ongoing partisan effort by the GOP to suppress and dilute African-American voting strength. It is also a deliberate attempt to intimidate Black elected officials. If Georgia officials get away with this, who's next? What other duly elected Black official will be stripped from office? Under absolutely no circumstances can we let this happen.
This is why we must support The Quitman 10+2 by demanding Dennard and Troutman be reinstated to their elected positions. We must also insist that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice look into this case immediately.
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(Photo: Courtesy The People's Tribune)