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Atlanta

Shocking News Of Downtown Hospital Closure Turns To Dread

Atlanta Medical Center’s impending closure “is incredibly tragic and disruptive to the patients,” said Grady Health System CEO John Haupert. It will create “a public health emergency,” said Dr. Mark Waterman, president of the medical staff at AMC. Patients used to AMC’s services, from regular medical ailments to its links with midwife clinics, scrambled to ask each other for options. Doctors who serve emergency trauma patients spoke in fear about the closure of the only other designated “Level 1 trauma center” besides Grady, capable of treating severe injuries from car wrecks, gunshots or head injuries from falls. Even worse than the loss of the neighboring trauma center will be the loss of its emergency room, which has functioned a relief valve for Grady’s constantly overcrowded ER.

Beneath The Concrete, The Forest

In Atlanta, Georgia, the city government intends to destroy large swaths of what remains of the South River Forest—also known by the Muskogee name for the river, Weelaunee. In place of one stretch of woods, they aim to build a police training compound; they have sold the neighboring part to Blackhall Studios executive Ryan Millsap, who intends to build a giant soundstage. Yet for more than a year now, activists have protected the forest against their plans. In a previous article, we chronicled how this campaign got started and the strategies that have driven it; in the following collection of narratives, participants in the movement describe their experiences and explain what makes this fight meaningful to them.

In Atlanta, ‘Cop City’ Sparks A Web Of Resistance

In the year since the Atlanta City Council approved plans for construction of a $90 million police training center in the South River Forest, a growing network of resistance has spread to nearly every corner of the city, from preschools to protests at subcontractors’ offices. It’s a multi-pronged strategy that activists say has been necessary to confront the corrupt connections between government, corporations, subcontractors and the police that have allowed the project — known as “Cop City” — to move forward, despite immense and clear public opposition. “All of these systems are interconnected — it isn’t a question just about policing,” said Jasmine Burnett, organizing director at Community Movement Builders, a collective of Black Atlantans that has been working to support local residents amidst the increased police presence in response to opposition.

Whistleblower Testimony Shows BOP Director Ignored Rampant Abuse

The hearing on July 26 was part of an investigation by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into USP Atlanta, which is a facility for pretrial detainees. So far, the investigation has focused on civil rights violations, prison staff misconduct, the flow of contraband and narcotics, and the high rate of suicides. According to Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff, who is the chair of the subcommitee, “The investigation has revealed that gross misconduct persisted at this facility for at least nine years, and that much of the damning information revealing misconduct, abuse, and corruption was known to BOP and accessible to BOP leadership during that period.” The subcommittee invited outgoing BOP Director Michael Carvajal to testify, but the Justice Department initially declined to make Carvajal available.

Starbucks Union Push In Atlanta Part Of National Organizing Trend

About a dozen customers were spread around the Ansley Mall Starbucks on a recent Friday, quietly working at tables or fiddling on their smartphones. From behind the counter came the tapping of brewing tools, the crinkling of wrappers, a bean-grinder straining. Two baristas wore shirts with rainbows and the words, “So glad you’re here.” The café felt laid-back, friendly, bright, welcoming and diverse. The only sign that this one was any different than 9,000 other Starbucks stores was a button, half-hidden in the folds on one barista’s apron.

A Preemptive Response To Media Attacks On Defend The Atlanta Forest

Atlanta, Georgia - “We are on the timeline in which everyone loses,” a friend once said. It always felt that way. Even though we always tried, all of us, our victories were always innovations in methods, in discourse. Something is changing. In the forest. Across the city. Even more, it’s as if an astral plane has opened up. This plane, if it exists, seems to spiral outward in every direction. Everything is growing from one simple fact: we really intend to win. We won’t let them take everything from us, to pave over everything with condos and parking lots. Hundreds of people ride dirtbikes and ATVs on a Sunday afternoon, giving shared meaning and purpose across three generations of small-time mechanics and adventurers. Music pulses through the trees as small groups find their way down the walking path, dimly lit by glow sticks, dancing beneath the stars for free; no doorman, no cover fee. On the edge of town, apartment complexes split the cost of bounce houses so that all of the children can celebrate birthdays together, sharing food and community in the warm Georgia sun, despite whatever challenges the work week holds.

Atlanta Fights To Save Its Forest

Activists from throughout the country have converged on Atlanta this week to oppose the construction of the police training facility and the destruction of the forest upon which the project depends. Dubbed “Cop City” by its critics, the 85-acre police training facility carries a price tag of $90 million for its initial phase. In September, 2021, Atlanta’s City Council approved a proposal to construct the facility within a huge swath of forested land in unincorporated DeKalb county southeast of Atlanta. The particular parcel of land slated to become a police training center is the former home of a city-run prison farm, which operated in the area from 1920 to 1989. The facility was used to house prisoners from Atlanta who were forced to work on the farm raising food for the city’s prison population.

Off-Duty Police Pushed Out Of Atlanta Forest By Land Defenders

On Monday, May 9, around 9:15am, people inhabiting the Atlanta Forest witnessed a bulldozer accompanied by two Dekalb County cops bulldozing a path in Intrenchment Creek Park – a public Dekalb County park directly adjacent to the Old Atlanta Prison Farm. On Monday morning, the bulldozer, marked “Dodd Drilling, LLC.,” destroyed a significant swath of forest, injuring plants and animals in its path. When people nearby learned about this, about 30-40 adults and at least 1 child quickly responded and gathered around the bulldozer, confronting the project managers and police officers on the RC Field. Those gathered shouted “Go home!” and “This is a public park!” The cops had called in reinforcements from Dekalb County, but by the time police arrived, workers were driving the bulldozer back to the parking lot. The police were persuaded to leave by the actions of intelligent people acting quickly and collectively in defense of the land.

Sedan Barricades South Power Line Cut Pathway To Atlanta Forest​

A black sedan barreled it’s way into the south power cut blocking off a MAJOR entrance to the woods off Constitution Road across from Black Hall Studios Sunday night, May, 8th, accompanied by a banner that states, “Fuck this World And It’s Cops”– kicking off the, “Week of Action,” to, “Defend the Forest,” in south Atlanta… A huge ass bonfire along with a vast array of fireworks and feral friends silhouetted and serenaded the break in the forest that has now come to be one of the main zones to defend against police incursion into the woods so many people and non-human animals call home. Cop City and Black Hall Studios will NEVER be built as long as Forest Defenders occupy these 500 or so collective acres of woods and comrades continue to engage in the practice that, “solidarity means attack.”

In Georgia, Protesters March At Monument To South’s Pro-Slavery Past

Atlanta, Georgia – Carrying signs decrying “racist traitors,” about a hundred civil rights activists marched and chanted at Georgia’s Stone Mountain on Saturday to protest at the return of an annual celebration of the Confederacy at the foot of a towering monument to the heroes of the South’s pro-slavery past. As dozens of state and local police, including SWAT teams with armored trucks, looked on, the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) with 200 supporters gathered for its celebration, which it says honors the sacrifices of their forebears. The Atlanta NAACP and other civil rights supporters, some using megaphones to try to shout down the event, which it views as a salute to the South’s legacy of racism.

Activists Are Occupying The Woods To Block A New Police Facility

Inside Atlanta’s sprawling South River Forest, city officials are moving forward with plans to raze dozens of acres of woodlands to build a $90 million police training facility that locals are calling “Cop City.” In response, Defend the Atlanta Forest activists who call themselves “forest defenders” have begun occupying the woods in an attempt to physically halt the facility’s construction—sabotaging construction vehicles and building barricades around a police-free autonomous zone that serves as both a living space and staging ground for the resistance effort. The forest defenders say the proposed 85-acre facility, which proponents are calling the Atlanta Institute for Social Justice and Public Safety Training, would harm air quality in the Atlanta area and prioritize policing and social control in a city that desperately needs life-affirming infrastructure such as affordable housing.

Two Perspectives On Defend The Atlanta Forest

They say Atlanta is a city in a forest. What happens when cops, developers, and Hollywood team up to decimate some of the very woods the city claims to treasure? In the last year, a widespread and diverse movement has sprung up to Defend the Atlanta Forest from a secretive proposal to build a police training facility, flanked by a movie soundstage, in a wooded parcel in southeast Atlanta. In this interview from January 30, just days after a major action ending in a handful of arrests, we speak with two participants in the movement about its origins, tactics, and insurgent vision. Their story is of getting ahead of the media, outsmarting the cops, and coming to know the woods through the struggle.

Activists Protest ‘Cop City’ In Atlanta

In September 2021, the Atlanta City Council voted to approve the new police training facility for the Atlanta Police Department. The Atlanta Police Foundations, who are largely sponsoring the $90 million dollar project, have referred to the planned facility as a new “Public Safety Training Center.” Activists in the Atlanta area have dubbed it “Cop City” and have been protesting for months to stop the project. On Saturday (February 12), the small area of the Intrenchment Creek trailhead was filled with protestors, there to express their opposition to Cop City. The project — which has the support of Governor Brian Kemp, former mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and new mayor Andre Dickens — is planned to be built where the Old Prison Farm now sits and will require deforestation to make room for the facility.

Resistance To ‘Cop City’ Heats Up As Construction Is Halted, Trees Occupied

On Tuesday, January 18th, tree-cutting was reported on social media in the Atlanta Forest, an area of highly contested green-space where both a movie studio and the local police are attempting to clear-cut trees to build expanded studio lots and a state of the art police training facility, which will include a “mock city for first responders to train in.” Over the past year, resistance to the project has taken many forms, from militant marches, community forums and BBQs, protests against those funding and helping to carry out the project, to a campaign to pressure local politicians to block the devastation of the forest. The campaign has brought together a wide variety of movements, groups, and communities, each fighting to save the forest and stop an encroaching arm of the expanding police state, known in Atlanta, as “Cop City.”

#StopCopCity Resistance Continues As Bulldozing Ensues

Atlanta, GA — On Tues., Jan. 18, around 2 p.m., The Mainline received community reports of heavy machinery and tree cutting taking place in the Old Atlanta Prison Farm land located in the South River Forest. The land was originally inhabited by Muscogee (Creek) indigenous peoples before their forced removal in the 1800s. Tribal leaders and members, now based in Eastern Oklahoma, joined with Atlanta organizers in the #StopCopCity coalition in a historic migration and stomp dance ceremony in the forest last November. Local residents gathered in the forest in response to the apparent bulldozing. The construction continues in the face of ongoing dissent against the city’s plans to build a massive $90 police militarization facility known as “Cop City.”
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