The Hawks will use State Farm Arena as a polling station for Georgia’s primary runoff election on Aug. 11, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz.
State Farm Arena will also serve as a polling station for early voting before the general election in 2020.
“We were casually brainstorming since our whole world turned about what we can do internally as an organization,” Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce told Aronvitz. “We were trying to figure out how we can take care of home first, and [Atlanta CEO Steve Koonin] pitched the idea.”
Pierce plans to “encourage” coaches and organizations across the NBA to consider using their arenas as polling stations ahead of the 2020 election. The second-year head coach is a member of the National Basketball Coaches Association’s committee on racial injustice and reform.
“The focal point tonight is what the coaches can do in Orlando to keep this conversation alive and use our voice and our platform in unity,” Pierce said. “But being able to address the group and show them this initiative was really not hard to process. We reached out to the county and they were on board. The next thing you know, we’re the first city to have an arena host a voting site. So I really want to encourage all the other 28 other coaches.”
Pierce and Hawks point guard Trae Young are among numerous NBA players and coaches to join protests and rallies after George Floyd was killed on May 25. Floyd was stopped by Minnesota PD officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe,” numerous times on video before his death.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder for their roles in Floyd’s death.
The NBA is working to support social justice initiatives in Orlando when the 2019-20 season resumes on July 30. Players will be allowed to replace the last name on their jerseys with a message about social justice, and all three courts in Orlando will reportedly have “Black Lives Matter” written on the sidelines.