On the Monday June 26th edition of Georgia Today: Neo-nazi demonstrations outside synagogues across the state this weekend spark public protests and condemnation from political leaders; The ACLU files a lawsuit with Effingham County School district alleging racial discrimination; And a new one hundred million dollar shipping terminal is coming to Savannah. 

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Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Monday, June 26th. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode, politicians condemn this weekend's neo-Nazi demonstrations outside synagogues in Georgia. The ACLU sues a Georgia school district over racial discrimination, and a new $100 million shipping terminal is coming to Savannah. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.

Macon residents gathered on the steps of Temple Beth Israel in support of the Jewish community Saturday a day after a hate group targeted the 164-year-old congregation.

Macon residents gathered on the steps of Temple Beth Israel in support of the Jewish community Saturday a day after a hate group targeted the 164-year-old congregation.

Credit: Grant Blankenship/GPB

Story 1:

Peter Biello: State leaders are condemning anti-Semitic demonstrations that occurred outside synagogues in Georgia this weekend. A group of neo-Nazi extremists gathered in front of an East Cobb synagogue during services Saturday. And as GPB's Grant Blankenship reports, a neo-Nazi group angered residents of Macon over two days of action centered around the city's 164-year-old synagogue.

Grant Blankenship: Supporters of the Jewish community packed the steps of Macon's Temple Beth Israel Saturday following a neo-Nazi groups rally outside the temple the day before, at the start of the Jewish Sabbath, that included a caricature of a Jewish man wrapped in a pride flag, hung in effigy from a street sign.

Speaker: And I thought. Not here, not in Macon, not my town.

Grant Blankenship: Deborah Adler was in the crowd. She says her mother, a Holocaust survivor, could never understand why Americans tolerate anti-Semites.

Deborah Adler: And I said, Well, you know, in America, unfortunately, even those that have hate speech are allowed to speak. But we must answer back. We must fight back the hate.

Grant Blankenship: When the members of what both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled a hate group returned Saturday. The hundreds gathered at the temple amidst the heavy police presence shouted them down. The group also blanketed neighborhoods in Macon and nearby Warner Robins, with anti-Semitic literature packed in sandwich bags with apparent rat poison. Neither local nor federal prosecutors have ruled out further charges against the group, who held a similar event at a Cobb County synagogue Saturday. For GPB News, I'm Grant Blankenship in Macon.



Story 2:

Peter Biello: Strong storms yesterday left at least 200,000 Georgia Power customers without electricity and stranded thousands of travelers at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Authorities have confirmed one death. An Atlanta man killed by a falling tree.



Story 3:

Peter Biello: Advocates for South Georgia immigrant communities are concerned about a new law in Florida. Starting in July, people who transport undocumented immigrants into Florida will be committing a felony. Andrea Hinojosa leads Southeast Georgia Communities Project, a nonprofit that routinely drives undocumented farmworkers to medical appointments just over the state line in Jacksonville. She's worried about how the new law will be enforced any time Latinos enter Florida.

Andrea Hinojosa: It concerns us that this might happen to us, that this might happen to me, that I will be stopped for a traffic stop and I'm going to be battered like some criminal. How are you going to identify an immigrant?

Peter Biello: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says the new law is aimed at restricting human smuggling.



Story 4:

Peter Biello: The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Friday against the Effingham County School District in southeast Georgia. As GPB's Benjamin Payne reports, the suit alleges, quote, pervasive racial discrimination and acts of anti-black animosity perpetrated by white students and staff.

Benjamin Payne: The plaintiffs include three Effingham County High School students and a recent graduate, all of whom are black. They say they've endured heinous racial attacks at school, including being called racial epithets, watching classmates mockingly reenact the killing of George Floyd and sharing space with students dressed as Hitler. Attorneys with the ACLU and an Atlanta based law firm filed the suit Friday in Savannah federal court. The ACLU said the case highlights the school district's, quote, longstanding racist history, including its resistance to integrating schools until 1970. The district isn't the only defendant named in the lawsuit. So too are superintendent, Yancy Ford, and three high school principals. When asked for comment, Ford told GPB the district does not tolerate racism or discrimination whatsoever. The three principals did not respond to GPB. Request for comment by air. For GPB News, I'm Benjamin Payne.



Story 5:

Peter Biello: We first reported last week that an elementary school teacher in Cobb County is being fired for allegedly running afoul of the state's divisive concepts law. Katie Rinderle was teaching fifth grade at Duke West Elementary School when she read at the students request a book she picked up at that school's book fair. The book is My Shadow Is Purple by Scott Stewart. The book is about moving beyond gender stereotypes and a binary way of thinking. The complaint from a parent prompted the school district's action against nearly author Scott Stewart caught wind of what happened and spoke out on Instagram in support of her.

Scott Stewart: This whole thing just really goes to show how much more interested the school system in the US is in playing politics than they are in educating kids. It's gross. It's disgusting.

Peter Biello: The Southern Poverty Law Center says 44 states have enacted some kind of legislation that would ban or restrict teaching on racism and sexism when Raleigh is fighting her termination. The Cobb County School district spokesperson said the district is confident the action is appropriate. A hearing is scheduled for August 3rd.



Young Thug, 2021

Young Thug, 2021

Credit: Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File

Story 6:

Peter Biello: Fulton County prosecutors are using song lyrics as evidence of crimes in the ongoing racketeering case against Atlanta rapper Young Thug. Last week, the Artist released a 15 track album from jail titled Business Is Business. GPB's Amanda Andrews explains how it could impact the case.

Amanda Andrews: Jeffrey Williams, better known as Young Thug, has been in Fulton County Jail for over a year. The 56 count indictment filed against him in May 2022 references Young Thug lyrics from his 2018 single called Anybody. Referencing murder, guns and war. His attorney, Keith Adams, says they want to keep lyrics out of evidence because they're irrelevant.

Keith Adams: On a federal level. Courts have been more and more circumspect and suspicious about allowing rap lyrics because it's just so prejudicial. You know, it's an attempt on the part of the Fulton County prosecutors to paint Jeffrey Williams in a particular way.

Amanda Andrews: Adams says they filed a motion to keep the rapper's lyrics out of the trial. Jury selection is expected to take another 2 to 3 months before the trial begins. For GPB News, I'm Amanda Andrews.



Story 7:

Peter Biello: Two companies plan to build a $100 million shipping terminal on the Savannah River, Savannah based oil and logistics company Colonial Group and Atlanta based railroad giant Norfolk Southern announced the project last week. The new facility will move brake bulk cargo. Colonial's terminal operations president Ryan Chandler says that means anything that can't be transported in shipping containers.

Ryan Chandler: Anything that requires individual specific handling of units is going to be break bulk and there's an awful lot of it that still wants to come into this country and we feel like it's going to continue to be that case and growing more particularly in the Savannah market.

Peter Biello: The company's aim to keep break bulk business in Savannah as the Georgia Ports Authority shifts its break bulk operations to the Port of Brunswick. The facility is expected to open next year and support 40 direct jobs and many more throughout Savannah's logistics industry.



Story 8:

Peter Biello: In sports, Matt Olson had a go ahead three run homer in the sixth inning and the Atlanta Braves held on for another wild seven six victory over the Cincinnati Reds yesterday. The Braves snapped the Reds longest winning streak in 66 years at 12 games with the 76 win on Saturday in the Braves have now won 17 of their last 20. Spencer Strider is expected to get the start for the Braves tonight as they open a three game series at home against the Minnesota Twins. And in soccer, Daniel Edelman had a goal and an assist in the first half. Frankie Amaya scored his first two goals of the season in the second half, and the New York Red Bulls breezed to a four nil victory over Atlanta United Saturday night. Atlanta United returns home to host the Philadelphia Union on Sunday.


And that is it for this edition of Georgia Today. Thanks so much for tuning in. Hope you had a great weekend and that your week is off to a great start. It's going to be a busy week news wise, so we hope you'll continue to tune in to the podcast. Best way to remember to do that, of course, is to subscribe. We're going to drop a new one of these every weekday afternoon. And if you have feedback or perhaps a story idea, we would love to hear from you. Send us an email. The address is GeorgiaToday@GPB.org. I'm Peter Biello. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.



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