MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Charlottesville was the hot topic at the Georgia Congressional Luncheon Tuesday morning.
The luncheon was supposed to focus on just politics, but speakers were affected by what happened in Virginia.
Chris Clark, President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, said the message at the luncheon was clear.
“As a country we need to come together. We need to reject racism. We need to reject the white supremacists and we need to reject things that divide us,” Clark said.
Senator Johnny Isakson gave lawmakers a similar message of unity.
“What happened in Charlottesville, Virginia didn’t just happen in Charlottesville, Virginia. It happened in America,” Isakson said.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia. He was on campus when the protest happened. He said it was like he traveled back in time.
“I could have been in Germany in the 1930s. They were carrying Nazi insignia, Nazi flags. They were hailing Hitler,” Sabato said.
He said the protesters even stabbed and burned the Dean of Students with their torches.
“These were very very angry, angry, angry people and there were so many of them and they were all young. They were young white males to be honest,” Sabato said.
After hearing Sabato’s story, Clark said everyone took something away from the luncheon.
“We have to work together. It doesn’t matter if you’re republican or democrat, if you’re from rural Georgia to urban Georgia, wherever,” he said. “There’s things that unite us and bind us, and that’s that we’re all American and we’re all Georgians and ought to work together.”
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce received the 2017 Chamber of the year award.
This is the first time the chamber is receiving this award.