- Fed 'committed to diversity' in dropping Stone Mountain site
- Flag issue elevated after Charleston, South Carolina shooting
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta will relocate the site of an annual conference in May to Amelia Island, Florida, following criticism of the public display of Confederate flags at Stone Mountain State Park in Georgia, where it has held the conference in recent years.
“The Atlanta Fed is committed to diversity and is sensitive to the concerns raised surrounding the display of Confederate flags at Stone Mountain,” Atlanta Fed spokeswoman Jean Tate said in an interview. “So while that was one of the factors considered, we evaluated several potential venues based on accessibility, meeting dates, cost and an atmosphere conducive to thoughtful deliberation.”
South Carolina removed the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds after the fatal shooting of nine people in a historic black church in Charleston last year. The flag is still displayed at Stone Mountain, outside of Atlanta, along with carvings of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee.
Georgia State Representative LaDawn Jones, a Democrat from Atlanta, in July called for a boycott of the park until the flags are moved.
Companies and local groups “like the Atlanta Fed do have a duty to make their concerns known by not supporting Stone Mountain until they do the work to become more inclusive,” Jones said. She is calling on the state legislature to change the Stone Mountain park from a “Confederate memorial” to “memorial of the civil war era.”
“People of all races and genders lost their lives during the civil war and therefore all of those people should be acknowledged in our park,” Jones said.
Speakers at the financial markets conference, to be held May 1 to 3, haven’t been announced, Tate said. Speakers at Stone Mountain have included Fed Chair Janet Yellen, via video link, former Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer.
The Atlanta Fed previously moved its financial markets conference from coastal Georgia’s Jekyll Island and Sea Island, partly to reduce expenses in the wake of the 2007-2009 recession. Amelia Island is about 30 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida, near the Georgia border.
The Atlanta Fed district, one of 12 regional bank districts, includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.