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Voices on the Path: J. Craig Gordon

REPRESENTATIVE J. Craig Gordon has served House District 163 for 14 years.  Rep. Gordon’s committee assignments include Economic Development & Tourism, and Health & Human Services.

A 1995 graduate of Alfred E Beach High School, Gordon is a life-long resident of Savannah.  Craig Gordon is the CEO of Statewide Healthcare Inc. and when he is not working, he enjoys gardening and reading.  

Why does it matter that people educate themselves about social and racial justice?

I think we should all make a pledge to never stop learning. Honestly, that’s in anything that we do. As it relates to social injustice,  some of the best decisions and worst decisions were made due to the lack of knowledge and information.

If my brothers and sisters in the majority don’t know the history of persecution done to blacks in America, then they will never understand why we are as a county. In 400 years blacks in America have dealt with slavery, debt peonage, share cropping, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement and still today hate crimes, banking discrimination, housing discrimination, access to healthcare, and prison work camps.

What changes are essential to bringing racial equality to Savannah?

I think an adoption of the 8 practices law enforcement should shun (Savannah has gotten rid of many already).

Adoption of an economic agenda that pledges 30 to 40% inclusion in all city bids and contracts.

I think an ongoing conversation with all facets of the community, at least monthly, to establish an understanding of what we all are going through. Regardless of how painful and uncomfortable it may be.

What are some steps that the Georgia legislature can take?

I think that our legislature can adopt the 8 principles stated prior regarding police procedures that should be outlawed, they should abolish Stand Your Ground and Citizens Arrest. The state also needs to make sure every state HBCU offers terminal degree programs and commit to a 30% spending with minority owned businesses across all state agencies.

What are some of your favorite resources that people can use to grow a deeper understanding?

One of my favorite books is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The book is written as a letter to the author’s teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being black in the United States.

What is the most important thing that people can do at this time?

I think that the people have spoken and are continuing to speak, and likely not going anywhere until firm commitments are made to eliminate injustices. Remember some of the bus boycotts lasted over 380 days. It wasn’t until those cites went bankrupt that changes were put into law.

Is there anything else that you want to add? 

Having family (parents, grandparents, aunts, etc.) actively involved in the civil rights movement, as well as a lifelong respect and pride in who I am as a Black male in America, have kept me focused on being a part of change and sensitivity to all diversities.  Strongly feeling that there has to be more than agreeing to finally saying Black Lives Matter but showing through meaningful action and encouraging purposeful dialogue in order to bring about systemic changes.