BLOOMINGDALE. Ga. (WSAV) – Community members are still reacting to social media posts by Bloomingdale Mayor Ben Rozier.
The mayor told WSAV News 3 that he planned to resign on Friday, but on Saturday afternoon, no resignation had been offered.
“He absolutely needs to resign. An effective leader is someone who brings people together, not someone who divides a community,” Destin Winter, the organizer for a protest that was held in Taylor Park, said.
Two separate groups gathered at Bloomingdale City Hall and Taylor Park to stand in protest. The groups said they wanted to add their voices to Bloomingdale’s City Council who released a statement on Tuesday, asking for the mayor to “tender his resignation immediately.”
“The city has already asked him to resign, I’ve started a petition last night on it as well and we are over a hundred signatures. I’m sure we’re going to go up quite a bit as well. But basically he made racist comments on social media and was comfortable doing so. Actually had support from our community and we called him out and we’re not going to stand for that,” Hannah Minter the organizer of the protest in front of Bloomingdale City Hall, stated.
Multiple posts the protesters described as “racist” and “horrendous” were what sparked their calls for change.
“If you are in a position of power and you speak for the people underneath you and the people of your community, you have to hold yourself to a certain standard,” Minter said.
Both organizers of the protests said they had received threats.
“People have been saying they were going to come out with their confederate flags and guns and someone said they were going to throw fireworks into us,” Minter said.
“We’ve had people tell us they’re going to snipe us from the woods,” Winter added.
Rozier said he planned to “listen to his community” in regards to what actions he will take. Both groups protesting on Saturday said they had reached out to the mayor’s office but never received any response. The organizers said this is not the first time Rozier has received backlash from the community.
“He’s been called out for calling someone a ‘cotton picker’ in previous years and was re-elected after that. I think the mayor believes that he is in office because he was elected by the majority of the community but the truth is that most of our community just doesn’t know anything about the local politics,” Winter said.
Organizers of the protests said they plan to gather every weekend until the mayor resigns. They told WSAV News 3 that they had heard Rozier was planning to resign on Monday, but said “we don’t think he plans to step down.”