Here’s what you missed in Macon this summer

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Here’s what you missed in Macon this summer

Jenny Wright (left) and Courtney Britt (right) stand for a moment of silent reflection during Lights for Liberty, a candlelit vigil protesting the conditions of migrant detention centers.

Jenny Wright (left) and Courtney Britt (right) stand for a moment of silent reflection during Lights for Liberty, a candlelit vigil protesting the conditions of migrant detention centers.

Marianna Bacallao

Jenny Wright (left) and Courtney Britt (right) stand for a moment of silent reflection during Lights for Liberty, a candlelit vigil protesting the conditions of migrant detention centers.

Marianna Bacallao

Marianna Bacallao

Jenny Wright (left) and Courtney Britt (right) stand for a moment of silent reflection during Lights for Liberty, a candlelit vigil protesting the conditions of migrant detention centers.

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This summer, Macon joined several nationwide movements.

Lights for Liberty

Claire Cox, president of Georgia Women And Those Who Stand With Us, said her organization usually has to travel to Atlanta if they want to engage in national or global activism. In July, they participated in Lights for Liberty — a global candlelit vigil protesting America’s immigration policies — without having to so much as look at I-75. 

“We realized … we need to gather here in Macon,” Cox said.

Georgia Women partnered with Mercer University Immigration Law Society, Nuestra Voz Middle Georgia, The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and other groups to host the vigil in downtown Macon. 

Mercer Law School’s Dean of Students, Jenny Wright, was in attendance. 

“We are all immigrants, and I know it sounds really cliché, but the fact that certain people in our country think that we should have such harsh, strong barriers to people coming in — whether they’re seeking asylum or regardless of the reason — I just can’t comprehend it,” Wright said. 

Yutoya Avaze Leon ends her first set with a split at Macon Pride 2019. Photo by Marianna Bacallao

Macon Pride

In June, Macon hosted its first LGBTQ+ Pride event in over 20 years. The celebration took place downtown, and included a city proclamation in which June 22 was officially declared Gay Pride Day. Drag performer Tangerine Summers said that was a far cry from the Macon of the 1970s. 

“When they’d lock us up, they’d call all the police officers where they make you change your clothes, have us strip, you know, it was like humiliation, but … things changed a lot. It’s more accepted now,” Summers said. 

Marijuana legislation

Macon’s legislation has also seen some significant changes since students moved out this past spring. In a 5-4 vote, the Macon-Bibb County commission decreased the fine from $1,000 to $75 for the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.

“I just want to make sure that we give good children, children who are guilty of adolescent mischief or youthful indiscretion — I just want to make sure that we give them the full chance that they have to succeed in this world, going forward without being dogged for the rest of their lives by an indiscretion, a (mischievous) act that they will outgrow,” 2020 Mayoral Candidate Larry Schlesinger said.

This new legislation could also eliminate the possibility of jail time for marijuana possession, depending on whether an officer decides to abide by state laws or local ordinance. Commissioners in favor of the ruling said that alteration was for the benefit of local law enforcement, so their resources could be better served elsewhere.

New businesses

On a less political note, the Taco Bell on Tom Hill Boulevard was out of commission for much of the summer, but reopened in late July with a new and sophisticated look.

Ma Duke, a popular Warner Robins restaurant, is branching out to Macon on Aug. 19th in the shopping center next to Piggly Wiggly on Pio Nono Avenue.  

“We are getting ready to take Macon, Georgia, and the Georgia area back to the traditional way of cooking, like our grandma and grandpa taught us how to cook,” co-owner Teresa Cohen told the Telegraph. 

Cohen said that she is waiting on a health inspection before they can open. 

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