Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was the target of a racist text message, sent to the Georgia official on Wednesday night. Bottoms posted a screenshot of the text to Twitter, which was said to have been sent by “ReOpen@Georgia.gov.”
“With my daughter looking over my shoulder, I received this message on my phone,” Bottoms tweeted. Adding, “I pray for you.”
The tweet, which came from what appears to be a Baltimore area code, read, “N—, just shut up and RE-OPEN ATLANTA!”
A representative for the ReOpen GA leadership team condemned the racist text message in a statement to FOX 5 Atlanta. “We do not have a Georgia.gov e-mail address,” the organization said. “This comment is most likely from a troll trying to tar our group, but even if not, the person absolutely does not speak on our behalf. The leadership team universally condemns racism and hate speech.”
Bottoms has been openly critical of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen the state, particularly nonessential businesses like theaters, tattoo parlors, nail salons and barbershops, amid a pandemic. On Monday Bottoms spoke to Chris Cuomo by Skype and told the CNN host that she was “at a loss” regarding Kemp’s decision to allow these spaces to open. She also added that the decision was made without consulting local leaders within the state.
In an interview on Tuesday with Meet the Press Daily, Bottoms said she plans to continue using her voice to encourage people to stay home. “Follow the data, look at the science, listen to the health care professionals and use your common sense,” she warned.
Though Bottoms was likely rattled by the racist text message, on Thursday she tweeted a quote from Audre Lorde that says, “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” She’s also received an outpouring of support for her bravery during this time. “Racism will always cut off its own nose to spite its face,” one Twitter user wrote. “Thank you for being vocal and wise. Georgia needs your voice to combat the overwhelming ignorance running the show.”