LILBURN, Ga. (CBS46) -- Some people who live in Gwinnett County are upset about a proposed Gandhi statue and 100 fruit trees going up at Bryson Park.
“We’re going to stop it from happening,” Cheryle Renee Moses, a community activist said.
Gwinnett County activists held a community rally at Bryson Park to stop the installation of a controversial Gandhi statue and 100 fruit trees for a fruit forest that are supposed to be planted at Bryson Park.
“Gandhi statues are being taken down all around the world,” Moses said, “Gandhi was a humanitarian and wanted equality and justice, but he wanted it for his community, but he thought of Africans as being subhuman.”
On top of that, Moses said Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation Directors and the Board of Commissioners approved this without placing it before the general public for comments.
“Wow, this is a big project. We should have heard about this from somewhere,” Moses added.
She said many people contacted commissioners to complain.
“Miraculously, it appeared on their agenda for October 1,” Moses added.
Gwinnett’s Board of Commissioners accepted the donation of 100 fruit trees from Indian Friends of Atlanta for the food forest, along with a statue of Gandhi, which will be on a pedestal in the middle of the food forest.
They made the donation to mark what would’ve been the 150th birthday of the Indian Independence Leader, Gandhi.
“I’m alarmed, yes, that this kind of thing could go on without public approval,” one attendee, Edson Lalor said.
“Gwinnett County is an international place, African-Americans are the majority minority in Gwinnett County, so to put up a statue of a person who was racist against Africans is insulting to many of the citizens that live here,” Moses said. “These are their tax dollars going to maintain the erection of [a statue of] a man who could not stand us.”
Moses said since this proposal never went through the proper channels, policies, and procedures, they’re hiring a lawyer to stop it before it goes up on October 19.
“An individual or groups could actually push on their community, their agenda, without the community’s approval …that’s just not right,” Lalor added.
According to Gwinnett County communications director Joe Sorenson: On October 1, the Board of Commissioners accepted a donation of a 100 fruit trees from the Indian Friends of Atlanta, as well as the volunteer assistance in planting the trees, to be utilized for the purposes of establishing a food forest at Bryson Park. The estimated value is $8,000.00.
Indian Friends of Atlanta issued the following statement:
Food Forest at Bryson park is the community project that IFA has undertaken. The main objective of the project is feed the hunger to help the community. It is the pilot project from Gwinnett county and we are proud to be associated with this project. The main intent of the project is to feed the hunger that can be self sustaining. Gandhi is an recognized icon of the India and world. On his 150th birthday, we want to recognize the man that has shown the world to fight without arms. I think this is the last we can do recognized him on this 150th birthday. another example of a similar initiative is Indian American council who tied up with Atlanta food bank and has already raised more than half million meals since October 2nd with goal of more than 1 million meals.
As with any leader there are some allegations that are unproven, unsustainable and unverified. We had approached the protestors to find out the reasons, apparently they have paid by somebody to hold the placards and the ironic time is that they do not know what they are protesting against and they do not who is Gandhi.
Apparently this group or gentleman has used similar tactics to intimidate the organization that maintains the Gandhi statue in downtown.