“The fight for full enfranchisement is fundamental to the African-American struggle in this country and to this country’s claim to functioning democracy. As an African-American, and as a citizen, I oppose all attempts, explicit and otherwise, to shrink the electorate and reduce access to the ballot,” the 34-year-old director began his essay for Deadline.
Ryan continued, “I say this as I return to Georgia, a state that holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Atlanta for eight months while filming my last movie. I have long looked forward to returning. But, when I was informed of the passage of SB202 in the state, and its ramifications for the state’s voters, I was profoundly disappointed.”
Click inside to read Ryan Coogler’s full letter…
Ryan then confirmed Black Panther 2 would stay put in Georgia and listed the big reason why.
“While I wished to turn my concern into action, I could not do so without first being educated on the specifics of Georgia. Having now spoken with voting rights activists in the state, I have come to understand that many of the people employed by my film, including all the local vendors and businesses we engage, are the very same people who will bear the brunt of SB202,” he wrote. “For those reasons, I will not be engaging in a boycott of Georgia. What I will be doing is using my voice to emphasize the effects of SB202, its shameful roots in Jim Crow, and doing all I can to support organizations fighting voter suppression here in the state.”
“Additionally, I have made a personal commitment to raise awareness about ways to help overturn this harmful bill, and continue to get educated on this matter from people on the ground. I will encourage everyone working with me to tap in with the local community directly affected by Senate Bill 202 and to leverage their influence and resources to aid in the fight for this particular and essential pillar of democracy.”
The new law puts new restrictions on many things involving voting throughout the state, including limits on drop boxes, who is allowed to vote using provisional ballots, new county election board oversight and stripping some authority from the secretary of state. It also criminalizes offering food or water to people waiting in line to vote.
While Ryan is staying put and aiming to aide the citizens in any way possible, this other movie has pulled out.