Updated at 5:44 p.m. Wednesday
Faith leaders in Atlanta say they have postponed a planned boycott of several major Georgia-based companies, pending a meeting next week with corporate heads to discuss their response to the state’s new voting laws.
The Republican-backed laws have come under fierce criticism for adding restrictions and removing power from the secretary of state.
Bishop Reginald Jackson of Georgia’s AME church writes in a statement that the chairman of Coca-Cola is helping to arrange a meeting with several corporate executives, including those from Delta, The Home Depot, Southern Company and UPS, among others.
The closed-door meeting is set for Tuesday, April 13, Jackson says he hopes to have 15-20 executives taking part.
“Most of the country is awaiting the launch of our planned corporate boycott, which was initially scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, April 7,” wrote Jackson. “However, in a show of good faith and trust, the faith-based community of Georgia has agreed to postpone its decision to boycott until this scheduled corporate meeting concludes on the 13.”
In a phone interview Wednesday afternoon, Jackson said it was “no coincidence” that the new voting laws add restrictions to vote by mail after voters of color made heavy use of that method in the 2020 elections.
“I just believe that if Republicans had won this election [in 2020], you would have had none of this legislation,” said Jackson. “But because they lost is why you have this legislation. In fact, it’s Republicans who passed this legislation some years ago. As long as it was working for them, there was no problem.”
Jackson says his group will demonstrate against the new voting laws at the upcoming Masters golf tournament in Augusta.
Major League Baseball announced last week it was moving July’s All-Star Game from Atlanta. On Tuesday, baseball announced it had chosen Denver as the new site for the game.
Jackson says he and fellow faith leaders did not advocate for MLB’s decision, but they also didn’t oppose it.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” said Jackson. “In fact I was looking forward to taking my son to the game to the All-Star Game, but it looks like that won’t be happening in Atlanta.”